Flintridge Prep soccer salvages game against Webb with last-minute goal

GLENDALE — Scoring chances were few and far between for both the Flintridge Prep and Webb boys' soccer teams on a rainy Friday at the Glendale Sports Complex.

The strong defensive Prep League matchup shifted largely into Webb's favor when it got on the board first in the 12th minute. The game continued to slide more and more to a Gauls win with every minute that ticked off the clock.

The Rebels had a last-second answer, though, as their standout midfielder Manny Perez earned a penalty kick in the 80th minute and converted it to end the contest at a 1-1 tie.

“We tried to take advantage of every chance we had and in the end we did and scored a goal,” Perez said. “I wasn’t happy with the tie, but I’m content we at least got one point, a result.”

The Gauls began to slow the game way down in the second half and nearly got the victory before Perez worked his magic.

“We’re fortunate to have someone like Manny who can, No. 1 demand the ball, No. 2 possess the ball and carry it into a dangerous position where he attracts a lot of attention,” Flintridge Prep Coach AJ Yates said.

It worked out in Perez’ favor Friday, as there were three different defenders tracking him as he possessed the ball with his back to Webb’s goal and just outside its six-yard box.

The senior made a quick move, turned his defender, ran right into the box and collided with a Gauls defender that was caught flat-footed obstructing his path to give Perez a penalty shot.

The midfielder got the Webb goalie to guess left before he chipped a shot onto the right side to level the scoreboard.

“It’s a lot of pressure,” Perez said of the defensive attention, “but I always try to do one quick move to get away, try to pass the ball maybe or if I can just dribble through. It’s always hard having two or three guys breathing on you.”

The draw gives the Rebels (7-8-3, 3-1-2 in league) some extra cushion at second place in the league standings with 11 points, while the Gauls (10-2-2, 2-2-2) have eight with two league games left for both sides.

“Considering that we came from a goal down, it’s not the result that we wanted, but we’ll take it considering,” Yates said. “I’m just glad they competed until the end of the game. I just want the guys to realize it’s an 80-minute game and not a 75 or 65-minute game.”

James Romero put Webb on the board 12 minutes into the contest. The Gauls put two players to take the cross and Romero walked the ball into the top right corner of Prep's box before bending a shot into the left corner of the goal.

Equalizing was no easy task. The Rebels had trouble keeping possession in the first half and continued to struggle offensively after halftime, as they didn't have a single shot on goal until Perez' penalty.

The Gauls nearly added an insurance goal in the 60th minute when Daniel Chrisostomo controlled the ball near the goal line and to the right of the Rebels' six-yard box before sending in a centering pass.

Webb's Joseph Rode made a run, but couldn't get to the ball, which bounced to Romero near the far post. Romero chipped a shot on goal but Prep goalie Clayton Weirick (five saves) made a run to grab the ball and ensured there wasn't a rebound.

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