Many orange T-shirts could be spotted Thursday afternoon at the Jack R. Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa.
The Ducks were in action, as teams from Costa Mesa Davis Magnet School played side by side at the Daily Pilot Cup. As the Davis boys’ fifth- and sixth-grade Gold Division A team faced Costa Mesa College Park A on field No. 5, the Davis girls’ fifth- and sixth-grade Silver Division squad played against Newport Beach Lincoln Elementary on field No. 6.
The Davis girls earned a 1-1 draw, while the boys earned a hard-fought 2-1 win that kept their chances of advancing past the pool-play round at the 19th annual youth soccer tournament alive.
Luke Sacuy and Kyle D’Alessandro scored against College Park for the Davis boys, who are aiming for their third championship in the fifth- and sixth-grade Gold Division in four years after winning it in 2015 and 2016. Davis earned a win and two draws last year in pool play, which wasn’t good enough to advance.
Davis has a better chance of moving on this year after bouncing back from a 4-0 loss to Costa Mesa Mariners Christian on Wednesday. The Ducks finished pool play at 1-1.
If Mariners Christian earns another win over College Park in the final Pool D game on Friday at 5:30 p.m., Davis would clinch second place in the pool and advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals.
“That’s what I’m banking on, but you never know,” Davis coach Owen Markert said. “I feel we should have had at least five goals today. We definitely had some missed opportunities.”
Give credit to College Park goalkeeper Orlando Hernandez, a fifth-grader who made nine saves, several of them on one-on-one chances. Hernandez dove to his left to block D’Alessandro’s penalty kick early in the second half, keeping his team behind by just a goal.
Davis took a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute, when Kyle Crowley played the ball up to D’Alessandro on a breakaway. Hernandez came out to make the save near the top of the box but the head referee ruled that he tripped D’Alessandro in the process. Sacuy converted the penalty kick for Davis.
The Ducks upped their lead to 2-0 in the 30th minute on D’Alessandro’s goal, but College Park responded just two minutes later. Nathan Rocha’s straightaway free kick from about 25 yards out was knocked down by Davis keeper Rocco Villarreal (five saves), but Jay Parra was there for a rebound goal for College Park.
College Park’s best chance to score late came after Joseph Magallanez made a nifty move in the 46th minute. He split two defenders on the right side of the field before passing to Rocha, whose shot went just wide left.
Neither team could score again. That was fine with Davis, which was also led defensively by Aidan Markert, Logan Harper and Justin Harlow.
“We probably could have completed more passes and finished more shots, [but] we’re probably going to go through [to the quarterfinals],” Sacuy said. “[Mariners Christian is] a beast.”
College Park coach Antonio Parra said his team will look to bounce back Friday.