Millikan Soccer Wilson

Boys’ Soccer: Sergio Flores Scores Late Winner For Millikan

The562’s soccer coverage for the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Beach Futbol Club.

The562’s coverage of Millikan athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Curtis Boyer.

The562’s coverage of Millikan athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Curtis Boyer.

Elite athletes talk about how the game slows down when they’re in the zone, and Millikan junior Sergio Flores was in the zone at the right moment for Millikan boys’ soccer on Monday night.

“It was all in slow motion,” Flores said of his 77th minute game-winning goal in a 2-1 win over visiting Wilson. “I saw it before it happened. (Jacob Chavez) cut outside and passed it (into the box) and (Rafael Gonzalez) dummied the ball. I just hit it with my left foot.”

Millikan (7-2-1, 2-0-0) scored twice in the last 18 minutes to move into first place in the Moore League. Wilson (3-5-2, 1-1-1) took the lead in the 25th minute on Ian Bond’s header off a set piece before Millikan’s Aaron De Leon equalized in the 62nd minute and Flores decided it late.

“(These Moore League games) are very exciting, especially towards the end,” Flores said. “It gets very competitive. Whoever wants it more, wins it. Haven’t beaten Wilson (since 2020) but it’s a new team, new year, new us.”

The Rams outshot the Bruins 12-7 and 7-4 in the second half when they took a hold of the game thanks to more aggressive and connected play in the midfield.

“We were in disarray and kind of bickering and we kind of brought it together at halftime and competed until the end,” Millikan coach Jeff Schofield said. “It’s important to know that games aren’t over until the end.”

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Both sides defended well early and the first shot on goal didn’t come until the 17th minute from Millikan’s Jacob Chavez. Wilson was able to gain some ground on the left flank through Luke Garza, and he was fouled near the sideline in the 25th minute. He had to leave the game with an ankle injury, but Joey Ragusa made the set piece count when he sent it to the front post where Bond’s head redirected it home.

Millikan’s halftime talk showed immediate dividends as Chavez created early chances for the Rams. They earned a corner kick just after the hour mark and Chavez’ service was headed home by De Leon for the equalizer.

“We talk about the timing of the runs and leaving space open to run into, and that’s exactly what happened,” Schofield said.

The Rams created more scoring chances down the stretch before Chavez dribbled multiple defenders to the endline before sending a low cross into the penalty area where Flores sent it home.

“He’s for sure a special player,” Schofield said of Chavez. “He’s been on Varsity since he was a freshman and has played a bunch of different spots. He’s got his confidence now. It’s moments like that is why we keep him on the field.”

Millikan has scored 25 goals this season.

“We have the best offensive team in the league and you can see that in our record so far,” Flores said. “We can keep this momentum going by hyping up ourselves with Brazilian music.”

Wilson lost three starters due to injury in the game but still had a pair of chances to retake the lead on shots from Manuel Moreno, Ragusa and Bond. Millikan goalkeeper Riley Cabarles and Wilson goalkeeper Gavin Pool-Harris both finished with a pair of saves.

“You start the year questioning who is going to be the best team and I feel like we found out tonight that we’re not that far away from being that team,” Wilson coach CJ Brewer said. “The more chances we get to play teams like this the more we’ll learn to polish things up. I think we’re going to be playing our best soccer at the end when it matters most. The next time we play them we’ll have the four starters we’ve been missing… that was a beautiful goal at the end, they played a complete game and that’s why they deserved to win.”

Millikan visits Poly on Wednesday while Wilson hosts Cabrillo.

“It’s just about being mentally prepared,” De Leon said. “We need that confidence and hunger, because we haven’t won the Moore League in four years and this is our year.”

VIDEO: Millikan vs. Wilson, Boys’ Soccer
PHOTOS: Millikan vs. Wilson, Boys’ Soccer
JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.