The sideline of the Edison High boys’ soccer team grew restless as Friday’s match went on.
From the start, the Chargers had been in control, but they had little to show for it.
The struggle to score goals was something that the Chargers could identify with from earlier in the season, but everything about Edison’s recent winning streak suggested that it had to break through.
Just when it seemed like the match was destined to go to overtime, the Chargers got the goal they were looking for. Junior midfielder Kai Peterson scored three minutes into stoppage time, and Edison defeated host CdM 1-0 in the Surf League opener.
Edison (10-4-4), which has claimed the last two Sunset League titles, won its fourth straight match, while CdM (10-3) had a four-match winning streak snapped.
“When you score late to win, it’s the best thing,” Chargers coach Charlie Breneman said. “It’s the best feeling. Leaving it [until] late, it gets a little emotional. That was fun.”
Only a minute earlier, Peterson had missed a golden opportunity to break the scoreless tie when he tapped the ball wide of the left post. Senior midfielder Chase Bullock had dribbled the ball through three defenders to feed the ball into the box for Peterson.
Edison regained possession on its side of midfield. Junior attacking midfielder Marcus Henze took the first touch and lofted a ball ahead to senior forward Jaxon Rogers.
Sea Kings goalkeeper Wally Korbler committed to coming out for the ball. Rogers beat Korbler to it, touching the ball over to the right post, where Peterson ran it down for the uncontested finish.
“That was crazy,” Peterson said. “I was super disappointed after that back-heel [opportunity]. I thought that it was going in, and then a minute later, it was just the best feeling ever.”
Rogers had picked up a yellow card in the 44th minute after he made contact with Korbler while he was in the process of making a catch. Breneman said that playing Rogers thereafter was a gamble that he was willing to take because he wanted a physical presence up front.
“The main thing was just getting numbers in the box, which is what we had an issue with early in the season,” Rogers said. “We had a couple talks about it, a couple of games that were like trials, and we finally figured out how to get most of our offensive [players] in the box. More numbers in the box equals more chances for us to get a shot on goal, which is what we needed.”
Another decision made by Breneman was to bring Henze in off the bench. Henze paid dividends as a creator of opportunities, and he also handled the majority of the Chargers’ set pieces in the second half.
“Marcus has the ability to play a kind of well-placed depth ball that usually finds the target,” Breneman said. “He’s not always the biggest, fastest guy, but he is a guy who is very technical on the ball, and I think that he was able to feed [his teammates] a number of times before [the game-winning goal].”
Korbler stopped eight shots in his return in goal for the Sea Kings after missing several matches with an illness. Sea Kings coach Damien O’Brien said that Nik Darrough had made it a tough decision to choose a starting goalkeeper with his play during CdM’s winning streak.
Bennett Flory did not have nearly as much work to do, making two saves to record the shutout. Sea Kings striker Niko Urban found himself working on the left edge for most of the afternoon, with Raymond Drake and Wyatt Burris clearing the balls in the middle.
When Urban became a distributor, left back Katin Rood did a good job of heading aerial crosses away.
“That’s what we were trying to do,” O’Brien said. “Niko wasn’t getting much through the middle in the first half, so we were trying to get him isolated one-on-one on the wings, where he can go around guys and get the ball into the box, maybe get something off of that.