Miguel Lopez Jr. was the hero Sunday night as the 17-year-old was able to get a crucial goal late in the game to grab a point for a gritty Oxnard Guerreros group.
A.S. Los Angeles started the game quick and Oxnard was having trouble dealing with Tomas Canale, who had numerous chances early on to put his team ahead but was unable to convert. That was until the 14th minute where an over the top through ball found him some space behind the back line of the Guerreros. His blistering shot gave goalkeeper Angel Cervantes no shot and it put his side ahead 1-0 early in the match.
Both sides would continue to put pressure on each other as the half went on, but neither side was able to find that second goal of the game.
Going into halftime the Guerreros were in dire need of some sort of offensive eruption to get them either the equalizer or even better a win in the matchup.
The second half would start fast for the Guerreros as Victor Estrada looked to be the one who would get the job done on the attacking half.
Estrada had a few chances that tested the keeper, but ultimately kept the score at 1-0. But it was Estrada’s chances that gave the Guerreros the confidence to keep pushing forward.
As the chances continued to pile up, so did the pressure on the Guerreros who needed to get something out of this game with a very important four-game homestand to come.
The breakthrough seemed to come as Alberto Anguiano was able to beat a few Los Angeles players in the eighteen and find enough space to get a shot off, but as the ball trickled past the goalkeeper it was the post that stood strong and put the Guerreros celebrations on hold at St. Mathias Stadium.
That was until the 83rd minute when Raul Gonzales collected a ball in the midfield and was able to shimmy around his opponent. A quick ball to the feet of Gabriel Naudin, who then played Lopez Jr. in behind, provided that shining moment for the Guerreros as Lopez Jr. was able to squeeze the ball just past the goalkeeper and equal the score line at 1-1.
“I felt very proud,” Lopez Jr. said. “My dad and I have been working very hard to become a better player and he has been with me since the very beginning, so it is pretty cool.”
The Guerreros pushed on for that winner, but the clock struck zero and it was just a point in the end. It was a hard-fought point that will only increase the confidence of a young team in the Guerreros.
Lopez Jr. added, “I am very excited for what’s next” as are every single one of the other Guerrero players.
The Guerreros will put their two-game unbeaten streak on the line against City of Angels FC March 30th at Campo Guerrero.
By: Gabriel Naudin/Oxnard Guerreros FC
Photo Credit: Brandon Jones/Oxnard Guerreros FC