Brandon Bui raced across the field to the Huntington Beach High sideline, receiving several congratulatory hugs along the way.
On senior night, the Oilers’ senior forward gave the home crowd what it had come to see.
Bui headed in the game-winning goal four minutes into the second period of golden-goal overtime, and Huntington Beach defeated Marina 1-0 in Wednesday’s Wave League boys’ soccer match.
In the 94th minute, Bui made a back post run and ran into a low line drive of a corner kick by Justin Fujimori.
“That was a crucial corner by Justin,” Bui said. “It was a great corner. You know that every corner that is in golden-goal [overtime], you have to finish.
“Once I got up there, I visualized the ball in the back of the net, and that’s what happened.”
Bui took off his jersey, and he held it up to show his name to the home faithful. Apparently, Bui had also pictured such a celebration for some time, too.
“That’s a celebration I’ve always been wanting to pull off this season,” Bui said. “I’ve got a couple of other goals … but this was a special time to do it.”
Fujimori said that the team has come a long way to find the success that they have had in the league. The Oilers (7-13-3, 3-1 in league, nine points) have now notched three consecutive shutout victories.
Coming into the day, Huntington Beach, Marina and Fountain Valley were all tied atop the Wave League standings through the first half of league play. The Oilers remain tied with Fountain Valley (13-5, 3-1), which beat Laguna Beach 3-1 on Wednesday. Marina dropped to 6-11-2 overall and 2-2 in the league.
“Starting out in the beginning, it was quite a struggle,” Fujimori said. “Every game, pretty much, we were losing by one goal. It was just finishing that last opportunity or finishing that last pass in the final third.
“Over time, this team has had so much heart, and they’ve worked together so well. We’ve been together for about two or three years. We’ve come a long way. We got our third league victory in a row, and we’re hoping to get more.”
Huntington Beach center backs Dustin Herft and Jared Rhone had their hands full in trying to keep Marina forwards Christian Briones and Adam Biggins from getting past them. Each made big sliding tackles near their own box in the 73rd minute.
The Vikings had a great chance to win the match in stoppage time at the end of regulation. Evan Sanchez fed the ball across goal from the left post, but Briones was unable to make a solid connection in his attempt to fire a one-time shot off the bounce.
“That’s the soccer gods, right?” Vikings coach Gabriel Lucatero said. “At the end of the day, we go out and we do all we can to compete. We put ourselves in situations to have success, and we’re proud of our boys.
“They went out and did that. They fought and they created multiple opportunities. The ball just didn’t hit the back of the net, and it’s unfortunate, obviously, the way the game ended.”
Both teams had goals taken off the board due to offside calls. It happened to Marina’s Sean Smith in the 16th minute. In the 45th minute, Nick Saude appeared to head in a 42-yard free kick from Fujimori, but it was ruled that he started his run before contact was made with the ball.
“The captain in the locker room [Lex Wilson] said at halftime, ‘We’re a family now,’ and we’re a family,” said Oilers coach Sean Dick, adding that said Wilson, a two-year captain and starting center back, had his season cut short by a torn ACL in the Oceanside Tournament over Christmas break. “They believe. It’s great. I’m proud of them.