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Estancia scores late to tie Costa Mesa

Boys' Soccer

Rivalry game features aggressive play along with timely goals by Eagles, who earn much-needed tie.

January 25, 2012|By Matt Szabo
(Scott Smeltzer…)

COSTA MESA — The game got more than a little chippy in the second half.

One player from each side earned a red card. By the end of regulation time, there wasn't a lot of love lost between the players from the Estancia and Costa Mesa high school boys' soccer teams Wednesday in the first Battle for the Bell game.

His team trying to protect a one-goal lead, Costa Mesa Coach Juan Becerra seemed surprised when the referee told him there would be seven minutes of stoppage time added on.

Estancia made the most of it.

Junior forward Christian Gomez scored in the stoppage time, helping the Eagles manage a 2-2 tie with the Mustangs at Jim Scott Stadium.

Halfway through Orange Coast League play, Costa Mesa (9-6-2, 2-2-1 in league) remains a point ahead of Estancia (7-4-4, 1-1-3). The Mustangs are in third place in league behind undefeated Saddleback (5-0) and also Godinez (3-1-1), with the Eagles in fourth.

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Estancia appeared ready to run away with Wednesday's game in the first half, after senior Alan Anaya scored on a free kick from 20 yards out midway through the first half. The Eagles were dominating time of possession and scoring opportunities, with Gomez crossing the ball into the box from the right side several times to teammates.

"They got everybody behind the ball," Estancia Coach Robert Castellano said. "Every shot we got, we'd beat the goalie but there'd be another defender to get to the ball out of there. [Costa Mesa] played with their hearts today, and we were a little unlucky in front of the goal."

The Mustangs hung tough on defense behind the play of sophomore goalie Brandon Menes (nine saves) and defenders Bryan Ruiz, Alexis Herrera and Oscar Dorantes.

"I owe [Menes] pizza, I really do," Becerra said. "If it wasn't for him, this [game] would have been totally different."

Mesa evened the score in the 36th minute, after Cesar Pineda was taken down in the box. Estancia goalie Alexis Plata (three saves) blocked Mesa senior Jorge Sanchez's penalty kick, but the ball rebounded right back to the Mustangs and Sanchez stuck it in.

The Mustangs kept countering the Eagles' attack, primarily with Sanchez. Then they suddenly opened up a 2-1 lead in the 52nd minute, when Dorantes scored off Pineda's cross from the left.

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