Los Amigos boys’ soccer earns first playoff win since 2015
One good deed deserves another.
Moments after Arturo Mota had helped carry an injured teammate off the field, he scored a goal, one that would be the decider in the first playoff victory in seven years for the Los Amigos High School boys’ soccer team.
Mota’s goal capped a second-half comeback for Los Amigos, which rallied to beat visiting Esperanza 3-2 on Friday afternoon, ending an undesirable streak for the Lobos in the postseason.
“It’s been a while,” Los Amigos coach Jesus Razo said. “It’s been a long time since our last playoff win. We needed a win. We’ve been through ups and downs, so we needed a playoff win.”
Los Amigos (14-3-1), the Garden Grove League champion, earned its first playoff win since 2015, snapping a streak of six consecutive losses in the section playoffs. The only year in which the Lobos did not compete in CIF during that stretch was 2017.
“It feels good because ever since my freshman year, I saw them lose first round, and now we got the [win],” Mota, a senior forward, said of being a part of the streak-busting team. “We got the [win], and I feel good.”
It looked as though that run may continue with Esperanza creating an abundance of quality chances in the first half.
The visiting sideline erupted when Blake Cruz put the Aztecs on the board first with a 25-yard strike in the 11th minute. Only six minutes later, Esperanza (7-8-3) gave its fans further reason to be excited.
Deep in Los Amigos territory, Felix Penate unleashed a threatening throw-in into the box. Seth Sosa got his head on the offering, and the ball came free to Paolo Uytiepo, whose touch doubled Esperanza’s advantage.
The Lobos survived the remainder of the half without further concession, setting the stage for their second-half heroics. Los Amigos came out of the break a desperate side, getting the ball forward early and often.
“[The Aztecs] went very direct,” Razo said in addressing the slow start. “They were very aggressive in the beginning. They beat us to the headers, and we weren’t defending well. It was more of us individually, not being strong enough and not winning the headers.”
In the 46th minute, the Lobos broke through on a scramble in front of Aztecs goalkeeper John Moffett (four saves). Mota found himself in the middle of the pack, tapping the ball over to Oracio Teriquez for his team’s first goal.
Los Amigos continued to push the pace, and another play on the rush ended up on the foot of Teriquez, who tied the score just a minute later. Omar Arciga drew the assist on the play.
“It was key to get the first goal in the second half and to find the spaces in between the defenders that we were lacking in the first half,” Teriquez said with Razo serving as his interpreter. “I need to be first on the ball and beat the defenders.”
It was past the midway point of the second half when the dangerous Teriquez went down with an ankle injury in front of the Esperanza net. The junior forward had to be carried off the field on the shoulders of a couple of teammates, Mota among them.
Before he knew it, Mota was right back where he had helped a teammate in need — inside the 18-yard box. Arciga’s feed from outside the right post found him, and Mota made the deposit.
“I grew up playing with him, so I know he’s good,” Mota said of Arciga. “It feels good [playing with him] because he allows me to score goals, and he carries our team.”
Daniel Terrones made two saves in the contest for the Lobos.
Los Amigos plays at Garden Grove on Tuesday. The Argonauts took care of Southwestern League champion Temecula Chaparral in a 2-0 victory on the road in the first round.
Support our sports coverage by becoming a digital subscriber.
All the latest on Orange County from Orange County.
Get our free TimesOC newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Daily Pilot.