The Fremont High boys’ soccer team on Friday won its first City Section title in 22 years of competition, upsetting Monroe 1-0 at Birmingham High.
The fourth-seeded Pathfinders (15-1-1) upset third-seed Monroe (12-2) on Hector Moreno’s lucky 13th goal of the season 13 minutes into the match--leaving Fremont coach Luis Rosales the rest of the game to pace nervously along the sideline, tightly gripping a stopwatch and periodically calling out the time remaining. On three heart-stopping occasions, Viking attackers launched shots that caromed off the goal posts, but the defense held.
Moreno’s goal was a product of Fremont’s fast, low-passing style of soccer. Midfielder Hugo Valencia drew the defense to the left flank as he maneuvered deep into Viking territory. Breaking away from a defender, he chipped a low ball into the penalty box where Moreno was waiting to challenge Viking goalie Misael Miramontes.
Moreno’s one-touch kick went under Miramontes’ arm as the goalie came charging toward him. As the ball rolled into the net, Miramontes accidentally kicked Moreno in the right leg, forcing the Pathfinders’ top scorer out of the game.
Following the goal, Monroe, which was missing starters Jason Terena and Danny Respond due to illness and injury, dominated the rest of the game but failed to capitalize.
On two occasions, one in each half, Viking sophomore Nicolas Duran’s shots hit the goal post.
But the closest the Vikings came to a goal was in the 26th minute of the second half, when Duran fired a volley to the right post, beating substitute goalie Joel Camacho. Striker Wilson Lopez rushed in for the shot, but the ball struck the right post and bounced into Camacho’s hands.
It was Camacho’s first save after he went in for Noe Valdez, who made four saves for the game. Camacho finished with three saves.
“It was a sour loss because we had several opportunities to score,” said Viking coach Elias Andrade. “Although you can’t take away from Fremont. They play a well-rounded game.” It was the first time in four years that Monroe, which has never won a City Section title, made it to the playoffs.
When the game was whistled to an end, players from Fremont’s bench rushed onto the field. Soon after, Rosales was ceremoniously drenched with water by his ecstatic players.
“This is the best we’ve ever done,” Rosales said. “It feels great.”
Fremont earned its berth in the championship game Tuesday on a penalty kick by team captain Ramon Avendano with two minutes left in overtime that lifted the Pathfinders to a 2-1 victory over Bell (9-3-2).
With two minutes left to play, Avendano, covered closely by fullback Filiberto Madrigal, broke inside the penalty area. Madrigal attempted to knock the ball away, but tripped Avendano and was called for a foul.
On the next play, Avendano buried the ball deep in the net as Bell goalie Marcos Landeros, who had 22 saves in the game, dove short of the save.
Records: Fremont 15-1-1; Monroe 12-2.