There was little doubt from start to finish on Thursday who was the best player on the field in a City Section Division I soccer quarterfinal match.
Anthony Lopez, a
He scored the tying goal in the second half and then drew a foul with expert ball handling to set up a penalty shot with six minutes left.
In an unselfish act of sacrifice, Lopez decided to let his good friend, Alexis Gomez, take the shot that would send Sylmar into the semifinals. And Gomez delivered, barely getting the ball past goalie Alex Ramon to give the Spartans a 2-1 win and a matchup against Palisades in the semifinals on Tuesday.
"That's the beauty of a community like Sylmar," a proud Spartans Coach Carlos Olivares said. "It's in their blood. They're a sharing community. It was a great player acknowledging another."
Lopez didn't play on Sylmar's Division II championship team last season. He was ineligible after transferring back from Alemany. He missed much of this season with a foot injury. But he's healthy and opponents are going to have to find a way to deal him.
Giovane Lobo had given El Camino Real a 1-0 lead in the first half.
In other games, Granada Hills defeated South Gate, 2-0. The Highlanders will face Poly, a 1-0 winner over Monroe on a goal by Michael Palma.
Palisades defeated Bell, 1-0.