The Moore League boys’ soccer opener between Millikan and Wilson turned on a magical moment from Bruins striker Brain Calderon.
“Sometimes he likes to do back heels and quick little flicks and a lot of times it doesn’t work and you yell at him, but we’re not yelling at him tonight,” joked Wilson coach C.J. Brewer.
In the 51st minute, Anthony Garcia stole the ball and headed it over the Millikan back line and into the 18-yard box. Calderon ran onto it and chipped it over Millikan goalkeeper Diego Ramirez with the outside of his right foot to help give Wilson a 1-0 win.
“I was getting it on frame but also I saw that the goalkeeper was too close to me so I just chipped it over to the right side,” Calderon said of the game-winning goal.
The shot was one of only seven shots on goal in the game while both defenses played near perfectly. Wilson goalkeeper Gavin Pool-Harris made three saves for the clean sheet.
“We had really good back line play tonight,” Pool-Harris said. “We were very organized. They couldn’t do what they wanted to do because we slowed them down.”
Millikan had a goal disallowed on the last kick of the ball in the first half because Vincent Saunders was ruled offside. Both teams had three shots in the first half, and four in the second half.
“If you look at our scores from the preseason our struggle has been finishing chances,” Millikan coach Jeff Schofield said. “I thought we played well enough to win. I thought we had good command of the game for most of it but a lapse in concentration gave them the goal.”
It took 12 minutes for Wilson to get a shot on goal, but Ramirez made a pair of saves on two quick shots from Luke Garza and Calderon. The Bruins stayed on the front foot and were able to produce the more dangerous scoring chances. Millikan didn’t have a shot on goal until the 27th minute.
“I think we got the better of the midfield play so we were able to apply pressure and stop them from being able to serve dangerous balls in,” Wilson assistant coach Doug Fatone said.
Millikan sent a bunch of crosses into the Wilson box in the last half hour after the goal, but the Bruins big back line was able to deal with them.
“Down the stretch we had opportunities to try and connect passes, which is what we’re good at, but we kept banging balls into their massive back line which does not make a lot of sense,” Schofield said.
Schofield also gave Pool-Harris praise for his shutout performance.
“I thought he played pretty well tonight,” Schofield said. “There were a couple shots that were probably difficult for him to hold onto and he was able to hold onto them.”
Brewer said the result is huge for his team after a tough preseason against top competition.
“It’s more important from a confidence standpoint,” Brewer said. “We’ve played very tough opponents in the preseason and we don’t have a great record. This gets us back to .500, so winning our first league game against what used to be the perennial champion is a confidence builder and that’s what we need most.”
Wilson has another tough challenge on Wednesday when the Bruins host defending league champion Poly. Millikan visits Cabrillo on Wednesday.