By Ted Apodaca
After a late lead slipped away, forcing overtime, the Los Alamitos High boys soccer team got a much-needed win with a 2-1 overtime victory over Huntington Beach in a Sunset League game on Wednesday at Huntington Beach High.
Los Alamitos had taken a 1-0 lead late in the first half on a penalty kick by Aaron Abarca. The Griffins held the lead into halftime and until late in the second half. Both sides had opportunities, but the defenses both held.
Late in the second half, the Griffins were called for a penalty in the box and Huntington Beach was awarded a penalty kick. After the first was stopped, a goalie foul was called and the Oilers converted the second goal to tie the game at 1-1.
Los Alamitos was given red card, and went into overtime playing a player short. Despite the disadvantage, the Griffins took advantage of the first good opportunity they had.
Junior Derek Goodman found space up the sideline and used speed to get two defenders trying to catch up to him. When the defenders collapsed on him, he slipped a forward pass in front of junior Riley Hunsaker, giving him an open run at the goal.
Hunsaker fired a quick shot past the charging goalie for the game-winner just three minutes into overtime. The win improved the Griffins’ record to 2-3, after dropping their first three league games. Head Coach Donovan Martinez said he felt the Oilers played a stronger overall game, but that the Griffins were able to make key plays when they needed them.
“We were able to have few connections and got the ball at the very end,” Martinez said.
Martinez said the coaches had told the team they were being too passive on attacks. He said the winning goal was more of the way they are trying to get the team to pressure defenses.
“It was a nice goal, it was one of the better goals I’ve seen this year, so we’ll take it,” Martinez said.
The Griffins followed the win with a 0-0 tie against Newport Harbor, which had won its first four games. Los Alamitos (2-3-1) came into this week in fourth place, one game behind Fountain Valley at 4-2. The Griffins will host Fountain Valley on Friday (Jan. 26) at 5:30 p.m. and then play at Edison on Jan. 31, at 5 p.m.