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Edison boys’ soccer extends league title streak to five

Edison's Kevin Blanco, right, congratulates Trent Bellinger after Bellinger scored a goal against Fountain Valley.
Edison’s Kevin Blanco, right, congratulates Trent Bellinger after Bellinger scored a goal against Fountain Valley during a Surf League boys’ soccer match on Wednesday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

At halftime, the Edison High School boys’ soccer team had just one shot on goal, which came in the waning seconds of the 40-minute half.

“We were playing too comfortable,” Edison coach Charlie Breneman said. “It was too casual.”

The Chargers needed a spark. Just before the second half, backup goalkeeper Michael Timmering gave a passionate talk that ignited the fire underneath the team to get the job done.

In the 42nd minute, Edison earned a free kick 24 yards from goal on the left side of the field. Senior midfielder Trenton Bellinger stepped up and curled a right-footed strike to the top corner to deliver the breakthrough.

Fountain Valley's Andres Rodriguez, left, Myles Ponce, Connor Trapp and Cantor Wright react after an Edison goal.
Fountain Valley’s Andres Rodriguez, left, Myles Ponce, Connor Trapp and Cantor Wright react after Edison’s Trent Bellinger scored.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

“The keeper was a little bit further to the left than I expected,” Bellinger said. “I usually try to go over the wall, but I just tried to curl it back post.”

Bellinger bagged a pair of goals in a 2-0 win for Edison, as the Chargers clinched at least a share of a league title for the fifth season running.

“For what it seemed like the landscape was in February before we started, it means a lot to get a full season in,” Breneman said. “And [for] these guys to come together in that short amount of time to figure out a way to win is pretty cool.”

Edison (11-4-1, 5-1) finished in a tie for the league crown with Los Alamitos (8-6, 5-1), which defeated Corona del Mar 4-0 later on Wednesday.

After the stalemate in the first half, the second half came to life after Bellinger’s free kick. A few minutes later, the Chargers were on the attack again.

Edison junior Ethan Emerson was fouled on the right wing in a dangerous-enough manner to prompt the referee to send Fountain Valley senior Andres Rodriguez to the bench for a substitution, rather than a yellow or red card. The official then instructed the home side that Rodriguez wouldn’t be allowed back on.

The game got chippier from there. The Chargers earned a penalty in the 57th minute when intricate play between Emerson and senior forward Luke Slavik led to Grayson Marquez being fouled on the offensive, earning Edison the chance to double its lead from 12 yards out.

Edison goalie Bennett Flory goes up for a ball against Fountain Valley's Johnathan Swete, center, and Alan Villegas.
Edison goalie Bennett Flory goes up for a ball against Fountain Valley’s Johnathan Swete, center, and Alan Villegas.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer )

The call frustrated Fountain Valley (6-8-2, 1-5), leading to a yellow card against the Barons for dissent.

Bellinger once again was the player for the job. He slotted home the penalty into the bottom left corner for the 2-0 advantage.

“He’s our captain, he’s our guy you rely on to step up and take a penalty and take a free kick to give you a chance,” Breneman said. “That’s the guy we want in those positions. Super proud of him. Takes a lot of responsibility and the right type of mentality.”

Bennett Flory made one save for the Chargers in recording the shutout.

The contentious nature of the game continued as Edison fended off attacks from the Barons. Connor Trapp, who was on the bench following an earlier yellow card, was eventually given a second and forthcoming red card.

Edison dug in, stayed composed and found a way to hang on, making defensive stops in the final minutes of the game while trying to play on the counterattack as the clock slowly wound down.

“It was hard mentally for us because I think we know Fountain Valley is already looking for the end of the season when we have stuff to play for,” Breneman said. “I think it was more of us battling a mentality of ‘We should win this game. We should get a result here.’”

Fountain Valley's Connor Trapp stretches for a ball but comes up short on a goal by Edison's Trent Bellinger.
Fountain Valley’s Connor Trapp stretches for a ball but comes up short on a goal by Edison’s Trent Bellinger.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

When the full-time whistle was blown, the Chargers drenched their long-time coach with water in celebratory fashion.

“It’s huge,” Bellinger said. “I’ve been here for four years and won the league all four times. Hopefully, the juniors can continue that.”

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