Los Amigos boys’ soccer rallies for equalizer, earns at least a share of Garden Grove League title

Santiago goalkeeper Eduardo Estrada challenges Los Amigos' Daniel Perez during a boys' soccer match on Tuesday.
Santiago goalkeeper Eduardo Estrada challenges Los Amigos’ Daniel Perez during a Garden Grove League boys’ soccer match on Tuesday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

A blustery day conspired against the offenses, but the Los Amigos High boys’ soccer team did just enough to get a result against its archrival.

Los Amigos rallied in the second half to secure a 1-1 draw versus visiting Santiago, assuring itself at least a share of the Garden Grove League championship.

Senior midfielder Daniel Perez, who transferred to Los Amigos after a stint at Santiago, provided the key moment. His penalty kick in the 58th minute slipped inside the left post to level the match. He ran to the sideline to celebrate with family.

Los Amigos' Daniel Perez celebrates after scoring on a penalty kick against Santiago on Tuesday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

“I saw them before the game,” Perez said. “I wanted this goal to mean something to them, so I ran to them.”

Los Amigos (13-2-2, 8-0-1 in the Garden Grove League) had been knocking on the door early in the second half, but it had not produced a shot on goal until that point. A run to the back post by senior forward Oracio Teriquez ended in a collision with the goalkeeper, with the officials awarding the penalty kick after he was denied a chance to get his head to an aerial cross.

A give-and-go between sophomore midfielder Erubey Bermudez and senior midfielder Anthony Gutierrez in the 55th minute had a chance, but Gutierrez’s centering pass from deep down the right side evaded his teammate.

Gutierrez also had a free kick from the top of the box in the 51st minute, his bid to go over the player wall sailing past the goal.

Los Amigos' Oracio Teriquez collides with Santiago goalkeeper Eduardo Estrada, drawing a penalty kick on Tuesday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

The Lobos worked the wide areas in transition after the Cavaliers had packed the middle successfully in the first half. Santiago (16-5-4, 7-1-1) had settled in defensively after getting an early goal from senior defender Jesse Hurtado.

“After the first half, we knew we had to do a lot better,” Gutierrez said. “It was hard to play through the middle because they were very compact. We just motivated each other. One of our players gave a speech, and it just hyped us up. It’s just that adrenaline that keeps us going.”

Los Amigos played with an extra man in overtime after Santiago senior midfielder Roger Cruz was booked with a second yellow card in stoppage time in the second half. The Lobos could not clinch the outright league title in the extra session, but they mounted a comeback against a quality opponent ahead of the playoffs. The CIF Southern Section will release its boys’ soccer playoff pairings on Saturday.

Santiago's David Suarez battles Los Amigos' Anthony Gutierrez for a ball during a Garden Grove League match on Tuesday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

A win or tie against La Quinta at home on Thursday will guarantee Los Amigos the outright league title. Santiago remains a full game back in second place, the difference being Ramirez’s overtime game-winner in the first meeting between the Cavaliers and Lobos.

“That shows character, that shows grit, that shows that even if things don’t go our way, we’ll still fight to the end, and we’ll keep pushing,” Los Amigos coach Jesus Razo said of his team’s second-half rally. “Credit to the guys for them to keep believing in each other and to look for that goal.”

The referee gives a red card to Santiago's Roger Cruz during a Garden Grove League match on Tuesday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

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