Ten months ago, Fountain Valley was in the Southern Section Division I title game. Today, the Barons are fighting to reach the playoffs after starting the Sunset League soccer season with two losses, the latest a 3-1 decision to host Edison Wednesday.
Only a week ago, Fountain Valley looked to be on its way to another playoff run. But the Barons (8-6, 0-2) have lost three in a row and they are searching for their offense. Edison (8-6-4, 2-0) started the season by winning only one of its first six games, but suddenly the Chargers are in the driver's seat for one of three playoff berths awarded to the Sunset League.
"Things turn around so quickly," Edison Coach Trent Marcus said. "We were in the tank and Fountain Valley was on top of the world. Front to back, they've got talent, but we were breaking apart any plan they had for attack."
Fountain Valley's plan is to get the ball to its star, forward Joey Vazquez, The Times' Orange County player of the year in 1995. But Vazquez was stifled by Edison defender Mark Johnson.
"We played [Vazquez] the way he doesn't like to be played," Marcus said. "Johnson gave him about a step and wouldn't let him turn. Vazquez would rather have someone right on him."
Vazquez never did get a clear shot on goal. Fountain Valley's lone goal was scored by Joey Bove, who redirected a shot off a Edison player with two minutes left in the first half. But by the time Bove scored, Edison had scored twice--once on a penalty kick by Todd Marcus and again on David Yonts' rebound of Marcus' shot.
Fountain Valley outplayed Edison for much of the second half, but couldn't convert on any of its opportunities. With 12 minutes left to play, the Barons had a shot in front of Edison's goal, but they were late getting to the ball. Seconds later, Fountain Valley defender Chris Jones scored an own goal as he tried to clear the ball from his end.
"We've been pressuring real hard the last couple games and we've created a lot of opportunities, but we can't stick it in the net," said Fountain Valley Coach Kevin Smith, who celebrated his 25th birthday Wednesday.
Smith said somebody better start sticking it in the net, or last year will become a more distant memory than it already is.
"No one wants the glory this year," he said. "No one wants to be put it in the net."