PASADENA — One missed golden opportunity led to another for the Hoover High boys’ soccer team on Tuesday afternoon.
The Tornadoes couldn’t have asked for a better look in their pursuit of a go-ahead goal in the final minutes of their Pacific League match at Muir, but as that went by the wayside, so did an opportunity to seize control of the league title chase when the game ended in a 1-1 tie.
“What makes it tough is that we had chances to get this game over with,” said Hoover Coach Kevin Cadenas, whose team is now in a three-way, first-place tie in league with Muir and Crescenta Valley, which entered the day with a one-point lead but was idle after its match against Burbank was postponed due to rain. “That’s what hurts. We have the chance to control our destiny and win league, but we just couldn’t score.”
Hoover (7-2-4 in league) had its share of chances to retake the lead after the Mustangs (8-4-1) came up with a tying tally in the 66th minute, but none were as wide open as senior midfielder Mario Martinez’s in the 78th minute.
On a breakaway, Martinez had a one-on-one with Muir goalkeeper Fernando Zavala, whom Martinez successfully juked out of his way to cut a wide-open path to the goal from about 20 yards out.
But the shot never came, as Martinez continued his dribble into the goalbox where a Mustangs defender was able to overtake him from behind and disrupt what had moments earlier seemed a sure goal.
“It was a wide-open goal,” Cadenas said. “Maybe [Martinez] looked at it and imagined the goal already, but you have to worry about kicking the ball in and then celebrate.
“But it happens. Both teams played well and both teams had chances.”
The first half was played under steady rain, but the storm broke briefly early in the second half to allow Hoover’s Jesse Roman to score the game’s first goal in the 49th minute.
Gomez was perfectly positioned at the edge of the penalty box to receive a ball that came out of a scrum off an attempt by teammate Rene Morataya. His low shot on the ground scurried right under Zavala for a 1-0 lead.
It didn’t last long, as Muir’s Edwin Felix put a header in the right corner of the net off a free kick to tie the game.
While there are still several possible scenarios for the league championship, the only aspect the Tornadoes control is their regular-season league finale against Glendale on Thursday. Crescenta Valley will face Arcadia on Thursday and play Burbank on Friday.
“I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on that,” Cadenas said, “but the only thing we can do is take care of our job. We’ve got the tie even though we wanted the win.”