There was nothing pretty about Tuesday’s game for the Wilson Bruins (9-2, 7-1), except for the result. The Moore League leaders picked up a 1-0 win at Cabrillo (1-6-1), playing their third consecutive road game as they navigate the second half of league play.
Senior Daniel Cervantes provided the difference in the match, smashing home a goal from inside the six-yard box in the 64th minute for the game’s only tally. He was assisted by the nifty footwork of Alan Cornejo, who was able to get a touch on the ball ahead of Cabrillo goalkeeper Daniel Martinez before playing a clever back-heel pass to a waiting Cervantes in front of goal.
Neither team generated many quality chances, especially in the first half hour. Wilson’s first shot attempt didn’t come until the 31st minute, leading head coach CJ Brewer to make some adjustments to his team’s style of play after the break.
“We had to switch to playing ugly-style soccer, playing direct,” Brewer explained. “It’s not what we want to do, but it was effective getting the ball in the attacking third and creating more opportunities. So we switched to a more direct style at halftime and it worked out. It was an ugly goal, ugly soccer, but I’m happy with a win.”
After just three shots in the first 40 minutes, the Bruins got seven looks on goal in the second half. Cervantes, Jobe De La Cruz, Kian Lawrence and Fernando Ramirez each had a pair of attempts for Wilson. The Bruins were able to get more set-piece opportunities in the second half, winning five corners and drawing a handful of Cabrillo fouls.
Cabrillo was led by sophomore Martin Robles, who had three shots–all in the second half. Senior Jesus Guzman had a pair of attempts for the Jags as well, including Cabrillo’s only shot on frame.
The vaunted Bruins defense was able to put up the clean sheet, which was their modus operandi early in the season. Wilson allowed just one goal in its first seven matches, including six consecutive clean sheets. Over the last three matches entering Tuesday, Wilson had allowed a combined four goals to Compton, Poly and Jordan. Brewer was pleased to see his back-three plus sophomore goalie Gavin Pool-Harris get back to their old ways.
“Our defensive line and Gavin are all underclassmen and they’re learning how to play together,” said Brewer. “Today we played with three defenders and we’re comfortable with it. I’m proud of where they’ve come to where we can trust them with only three, and Gavin adds to that trust level when you know he’s back there. So it started with trusting our defense to be able to create more of an attack.”
Wilson will host Lakewood on Thursday at 4:45 p.m. before a big rematch with Millikan next Tuesday at Wilson. Cabrillo is at Jordan on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.