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Lakewood Millikan Soccer

Boys’ Soccer: Lakewood Scores Late Winner At Millikan

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

The562’s coverage of Lakewood Athletics is sponsored by J.P. Crawford, Class of 2013.

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

This is one of the most important weeks of Moore League action in a long time for Lakewood boys’ soccer, and they started it with a dramatic 2-1 win at Millikan on Monday night.

The Lancers braved the elements and used a pair of second half goals to beat the Rams for the first time since 2016. Freshman Michael Gutierrez equalized in the 44th minute, and Diego Perez’ header was deflected home in the 78th minute for the game-winning goal.

“It was a great win for the team and the coaches and it feels good,” Perez said. “We put in the hard work and we know this is our year with a lot of talented players that came in.”

Lakewood (5-0-3, 2-0-1) outshot Millikan (7-4-5, 2-1-1) in the game 10-6 and held the Rams without a shot for the first 22 minutes of the second half.

“This is a good feeling because it’s always tough to play (Millikan) but these boys just bring a different energy,” Lakewood coach Alex Diaz said. “They just don’t stop and it’s been like this since day one. We’ve come back in a few games and I knew we were going to get a goal (in the second half) because we deserved one. I felt confident the whole game. I think we dominated.”


The Lancers enjoyed the lion’s share of possession while getting off the first few shots of the game, but the Rams made their first shot in the 18th minute when Aaron De Leon headed in Brandon Tuck’s corner kick. Millikan only had one more shot in the first half while the wind and rain gained strength.

In the 44th minute, Gutierrez collected a throw-in on the far side and spun on the ball before lifting his left-footed shot into the far side netting from about 35 yards out.

“I couldn’t see anything because of the rain but before the throw-in I knew what I was going to try and do,” Gutierrez said. “I didn’t think it was going to work out but it did.”

“He’s a special kid who has been our goal scorer lately,” Diaz said. “He’s really dangerous in one-on-one situations and is really good at holding the ball. He’s a natural nine, and we haven’t had one since I’ve been here. We’re lucky to have him.”

Despite the increasingly poor playing conditions, Lakewood stayed on the front foot looking for the win.

“We were going for the win and I played three in the back the whole game,” Diaz said. “We had the wind and rain going our way so we just had to get some shots on their goalkeeper to put them under pressure.”

With 10 minutes left in regulation, Lakewood defender Jonathon Alvarez cleared a shot off the line to keep his team on even ground, and then he set up the game-winning goal eight minutes later. Alvarez teed up a set piece from near midfield, and his service into the center of the box was met with Perez’ head. The defection found the back of the net. It was initially waived off for offsides, but the center referee overruled his assistant.

“I honestly didn’t see anything,” Perez said. “I went for the header, closed my eyes and then (my teammates) started coming at me and I was like, ‘Oh, I scored.’”

Lakewood is now second in the league standings with a game in hand, but the Lancers have two more challenging games this week against Cabrillo on Wednesday and Long Beach Poly on Friday.

Millikan falls to third place and also has two more games this week.

“They played better than us in just about every aspect of the game,” Millikan coach Jeff Schofield said. “They connected passes well and communicated… We’ve got two more games we have to win this week, but one of our issues is that some of our guys, because it’s Millikan, think we’re just going to win games by stepping on the field. The reality is that’s not true.”

There won't be a highlight video/photos due to the inclement weather.

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.