Wilson and Cabrillo both played well enough to earn a point from their Moore League boys’ soccer match on Friday night, but the Bruins came up with some fortuitous magic in the final minutes to steal all of the points with a 1-0 win at home.
The victory keeps Wilson (4-4-2, 3-0-0) comfortably on top of the league standings, and Cabrillo (9-1-1, 0-2-0) drops into a deep chase pack with a few other quality teams.
“You have to get the points somehow,” Wilson defender Kian Lawrence said. “Even the best teams in the top (professional) leagues don’t have their best performances (every game) but they manage to get the three points somehow and that’s what we did.”
Lawrence, who didn’t play in the first half, used his 6’3” frame to gain an advantage in the run of play from his left back position. It also helped him score the game-winning goal in the 74th minute when he met a long set piece at the back post.
“We got kind of lucky,” Lawrence said. “We were planning on playing at the front post to flick it onto the back post, but I guess it was just an over hit ball. We got a header to the goalie and we capitalized with a poachers goal.”
Cole Warden’s service found Beck Peterson’s head at the back post and his got just a small touch on the ball. That was enough to spin out of Cabrillo goalkeeper Kevin Ventura’s hands. Lawrence crashed the net and poked it into the upper netting with his left foot.
“Kian is a physical presence,” Wilson coach CJ Brewer said. “In all set pieces you want him in, either defending your goal or trying to head the ball in. I feel like he played a great game.”
The entire game was very even with only a few clear scoring chances. Both sides had six shots, but the Bruins finished with five shots on goal to the Jaguars’ two. Cabrillo had five corner kicks, and Wilson didn’t have any.
“We played a little timid and that cost us a lot of opportunities going forward,” Brewer said. “The 50/50 chances and second balls went in their favor for a lot of the game.”
The game’s first shot on goal came in the sixth minute off Wilson Anthony Garcia’s set piece, but Ventura was perfectly positioned for the save. Wilson goalkeeper Gavin Pool-Harris also made a nice save on Cabrillo’s first shot on goal in the 25th minute off the foot of Martin Robles Ruiz.
Cabrillo had more chances in front of goal in the second half thanks to a string of corner kicks and long throw-ins, but Pool-Harris made the two saves necessary to secure Wilson’s fifth clean sheet of the season. The Bruins haven’t given up a goal in league play.
“We have a very good defensive midfield with a lot of depth,” Lawrence said. “We’ve got a few guys who can play that holding role. And we’re experienced and learned a lot last year.”
Wilson used its depth to press hard for a winner in the final 10 minutes, and that pressure led to the foul that set up the game winner.
“Wilson is hard and they do what they do and they do it well, so give it up to them,” Cabrillo coach Pat Noyes said. “They weren’t going to quit.”
Cabrillo hasn’t been able to maintain a regular training schedule lately while their campus turf field gets worked on, so Noyes took the result with a grain of salt.
“I think a tie would’ve been fine, but we have to get back to training and doing our thing,” Noyes said. “And I need (this team) to understand that every game matters, every play matters and you can’t let down for a second. I felt like we should’ve been able to clear the ball out (on Wilson’s goal). It comes down to how tough we are mentally.”
On Monday, Wilson hosts Jordan while Cabrillo hosts Compton.