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Los Amigos boys’ soccer makes playoff exit against Redlands East Valley

Los Amigos' Eduardo Reyes can't bear to watch as Redlands East Valley celebrates a go-ahead goal 
Wednesday.
Los Amigos’ Eduardo Reyes can’t bear to watch as Redlands East Valley celebrates a go-ahead goal during a CIF Southern Section Division 2 boys’ soccer playoff game on Wednesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)
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Much like the atmospheric river that steadily poured over the area the past few days, the Los Amigos boys’ soccer team was finding out that the defensive intensity of a playoff game is unyielding.

Late in the second half, the dam broke, Los Amigos and visiting Redlands East Valley trading goals three minutes apart, just a few minutes shy of overtime.

The Lobos and their fans were elated to have equalized with mere minutes left in their season, and then the rainbow they weren’t looking to see at the end of the storm happened.

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Los Amigos' Peter Hernandez (23) stops the dribble of Redlands East Valley's Omario Gonzalez on Wednesday.
Los Amigos’ Peter Hernandez (23) stops the dribble of Redlands East Valley’s Omario Gonzalez on Wednesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Cruz Navarro went direct with the first touch from the midfield stripe to restart play, a high-arching shot that tucked inside the left post for the deciding goal with four minutes remaining.

Navarro scored twice in the final eight minutes, leading to Los Amigos’ 3-1 downfall at the hands of Redlands East Valley in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs.

The Wildcats’ center forward made a beeline to the spectators after scoring his second goal in four minutes, finding his father in the crowd.

Los Amigos' Jason Marin (9) just misses a shot in front of goalie Tait Whittemore against Redlands East Valley.
Los Amigos’ Jason Marin (9) just misses a shot in front of goalie Tait Whittemore against Redlands East Valley.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

“He ran to me, and I ran to him,” Navarro said. “We just hugged each other right there. It was a good feeling.”

Only a moment earlier, Erubey Bermudez had knotted the score at 1-1, flicking the ball past Wildcats goalkeeper Tait Whittemore with his back to the goal after Adrian Ramirez’s throw-in into the penalty area.

“It really got our hopes up,” said Julian Rivera, a sophomore forward who had a team-leading three shots on goal for Los Amigos, the Garden Grove League runner-up this season. “It was a good goal for our emotions and our spirit.”

Los Amigos' Erubey Bermudez, left, is shoved off the dribble by Redlands East Valley's Matthew Shea on Wednesday.
Los Amigos’ Erubey Bermudez, left, is shoved off the dribble by Redlands East Valley’s Matthew Shea on Wednesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Bermudez and company sprinted back to midfield to resume play and pursue the lead, but Los Amigos (11-2-5) wouldn’t get the chance. A brief interaction between Redlands East Valley coach Mario Urbano and Navarro, and perfect placement by his leading goal scorer over retreating Lobos goalkeeper Rene Medel, was all it took.

“My center forward put the ball down, Cruz,” Urbano said. “I looked at the goalie, and he was standing at the 18-[yard line], so I just went, ‘Cruz, Cruz.’ I glanced up, and I was like, ‘Shoot it, shoot it,’ and he looked at him. Right when the referee blew the whistle, he shot it, and it was a great goal.”

Redlands East Valley (15-4-2) struggled to put shots on frame, bothered by the man-marking abilities of Erick Higuera, Jonathan Sanchez, Brandon Medina and Ramirez on Los Amigos’ back line.

Los Amigos' Julian Rivera (17) steals the ball from Redlands East Valley's Landon Garcia on Wednesday.
Los Amigos’ Julian Rivera (17) steals the ball from Redlands East Valley’s Landon Garcia on Wednesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

A header scoring strike from Navarro in the 72nd minute, crossed in by Logan Ashton, was the first shot on goal for the Wildcats after their previous eight bids missed the mark.

Landon Garcia scored just before the final whistle for Redlands East Valley, which will play host to Oak Hills (19-3-2) in the second round on Friday.

Whittemore, a vocal goalkeeper in directing traffic, made eight stops, including a key challenge off his line to deny Jason Marin with the game still looking for its first goal in the second half. Center back Matthew Shea also blocked back-to-back shots from inside the box in the first half.

“I felt like we created chances and were dangerous, but that goalie, honestly, he made some important saves for them that kept them in the game,” Los Amigos coach Jesus Razo said. “Credit to him for making those saves because we were dangerous and created scoring opportunities. We just didn’t put one in early.”

Los Amigos' Jason Marin (9) collides with Redlands East Valley goalie Tait Whittemore (1) after a shot on Wednesday.
Los Amigos’ Jason Marin (9) collides with Redlands East Valley goalie Tait Whittemore (1) after a shot on Wednesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Also in the CIF Southern Section boys’ soccer playoffs:

Edison 3, Baldwin Park Sierra Vista 0: Evan Oakes, Trevor Dodge and Luca Petruolo scored for the visiting Chargers in the first round of the Division 1 playoffs on Wednesday.

Edison (15-2-4) plays host to Mission League champion Studio City Harvard-Westlake (16-4-1) on Friday at 5 p.m.

Newport Harbor 4, Palm Desert 1: Jack Csergei scored twice to lead the visiting Sailors to victory on Wednesday in the first round of the Division 2 playoffs.

Jake Shubin and Olivier Renard also found the back of the net for Newport Harbor, which remains on the road to face Agoura (10-5-4) on Friday

Long Beach Wilson 2, Huntington Beach 1 (2OT): The Wave League champions succumbed to a golden goal in the second overtime, falling at home in the first round of the Division 2 playoffs.

Biaggio Toneatto scored on a breakaway in the first half for Huntington Beach (6-9-5).

Laguna Beach 1, Crean Lutheran 0 (2OT): Jack Hooper curled a direct free kick around a wall of defenders for the game-winning goal, lifting the Breakers over the Saints in a Division 5 opener at Crean Lutheran High.

Cole Anderson made five saves in the shutout for Laguna Beach (8-12-1), which travels on Friday to take on Ventura Foothill Technology (7-6-3) at Ventura College at 6 p.m.

Westminster La Quinta 4, Pacifica Christian Orange County 0: Leon Hoang scored two goals for the host Aztecs on Wednesday in a Division 7 wildcard match.

Alham Attaee and Bryan Mercado each had one goal for La Quinta (7-8-2).

Pacifica Christian (14-9-1) was the third-place team in the Academy League this season.

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