RIVERSIDE — Salvador Valladares lowered his head in frustration when he tossed a ball well over the crossbar in the opening minutes of the second half. His head didn’t stay down for very long.
Valladares continued to be an attacking threat and got a moment of redemption in the 71st minute, when he scored the goal that gave the Norte Vista boys’ football team a 1-0 victory over Ayala in a Division 3 second round game on Tuesday afternoon.
“Things like this are going to happen,” Valladares said. “You just have to keep your cool and be ready for the next opportunity.”
Norte Vista (14-3-6) dominated possession for most of the game, and creative play from their midfielders and forwards led to several scoring opportunities. But the Braves also struggled to find a finishing touch early.
“A rebound here and good defensive play there…we were a little unlucky at times early on,” Norte Vista coach Matthew Beliveau said. “I was hoping something would come in eventually because we created a lot of chances.”
Norte Vista had three chances to take the lead in the 43rd minute. Ediberto Villicana fired a low shot towards the near post, but Ayala keeper Joshua Mata cleared the ball away. Mata made another save seconds later on a Jerry Gurrero shot. The rebound went straight to Valladares in front of goal, but the shot sailed high.
Ayala (7-5-8) was coming off a 2-0 victory over No. 2 seed El Rancho in the first round, but the Bulldogs were unable to build much of the offense on Tuesday afternoon and only finished with a few shots. target.
In the 71st minute, Villicana kicked the ball forward, directly into Valladares’ path, who fired the ball into the net to give the Braves the lead.
“It’s good to have composure at the right time,” Beliveau said of Valladares scoring the decisive goal. “Of course he missed the earlier one, but he recovered well, moved on and made sure he finished next time.”
Norte Vista will face the winner of Wednesday’s game between Garden Grove and Los Amigos in the quarter-finals on Friday. This match had to be postponed Tuesday night due to lightning. Norte Vista would host Garden Grove or go to Los Amigos.