On the sideline, someone asked coach Chris Sandro about the makeup of his Los Amigos High boys’ soccer team.
“I have like 10 defenders,” Sandro responded. “I had to make a player into a forward.”
That player is Francisco Lopez, who is more of a natural midfielder.
Lopez’s move up top is working out quite well for him and Los Amigos.
The junior scored three of his four goals in the first eight minutes at La Quinta on Tuesday, and the Lobos went on to open the Garden Grove League with a dominating 12-0 win.
Los Amigos looks like a championship-caliber side, reminiscent of the 2012-13 season, when it won a fourth straight league title. The Lobos, ranked No. 9 in the CIF Southern Section Division 5 poll, improved to 7-1-1 overall.
“We’re excited about league,” said Sandro, adding that defending co-champion Santiago and newcomer Loara will also be contenders. “It was usually [Garden] Grove, Santiago, Los Amigos [competing for first place], but we have fallen off the last couple of years, so we’re trying to right that ship.”
Experience is something the Lobos will rely on in their pursuit of the league crown. Fifteen players on the 22-man roster are seniors and the rest are juniors.
Los Amigos showed its firepower against La Quinta, which dropped to 0-8-1 after giving up double-digit goals for the second match in a row.
The Aztecs failed to slow down Lopez. The only thing stopping Lopez was Sandro. He took Lopez out early in the first half, and Lopez spent the rest of it on the bench.
Brandon Alfaro joined Lopez after he headed in Xavier Valencia’s corner kick to put the Lobos ahead 4-0 midway through the first half. Alfaro and Lopez sat together, and some fans asked Lopez how the team had performed so far.
“I scored three goals,” Lopez said in Spanish, before pointing toward Alfaro and adding that Alfaro had the fourth goal.
Lopez produced his fourth goal four minutes into the second half, giving him a team-leading 10 goals on the season. He has recorded at least a goal in each of the last five matches he’s played in.
The reason Sandro decided to put Lopez at forward was simple. Lopez finds ways to put the ball into the back of the net.
The Lobos did a lot of that on La Quinta’s small field.
They attacked La Quinta goalkeeper Victor Nguyen throughout, scoring five goals in the first half and seven in the second half. Jose Felipe and Elian Escalante finished with two goals apiece, while Mauricio Rodriguez, Alfonso Montano and Gustavo Oleta each scored a goal. Dominic Rodriguez had two assists, and Escalante, Oleta and Lionel Linares each had one assist.
Keepers Daniel Roman and Oscar Vazquez combined on the shutout for Los Amigos, which defeated La Quinta for the sixth consecutive time.