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Boys' Soccer: Eagles suffer setback

Estancia falls to Saddleback and out of first place in Orange Coast League.

January 19, 2013|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
(Scott Smeltzer…)

COSTA MESA — Coach Robert Castellano has told his players that they're all important and he needs each one of them to do their part.

He's not kidding. Everyone on the team gets to play.

With only 15 players, the Estancia High boys' soccer team is thin. The program began the season with 20 players, but three players have been lost to injuries and two players because they had to get jobs.

At halftime of the Eagles' match on Friday, they lost another player. Castellano said Chris Gomez, the team's leading goal scorer last season, had to leave because of work.

Gomez's second appearance with the Eagles this season was short lived. They missed him against Saddleback in a key Orange Coast League match.

Without Gomez, the Eagles were unable to create many scoring chances in the second half and they lost at home, 1-0. The setback knocked Estancia out of first place and moved Saddleback into a first-place tie.

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What concerned Castellano was the effort his team gave after the Roadrunners took the lead in the 44th minute.

"It looks like we just didn't want to play after [that]," said Castellano, who let his players know exactly how he felt late in the match.

He questioned them, yelling, "We don't want to play anymore?"

Whether fatigue might have been an issue for his team's play down the stretch, Castellano downplayed it. The match was too crucial to give excuses.

The Eagles (7-5-3, 2-2-0 in league) were going against the defending league champion Roadrunners for the first time this season. They had momentum going into the showdown, having won two league matches in a row.

Saddleback, ranked No. 9 in the CIF Southern Section Division 5 poll, only had one win to show in its first three league matches. Picking up the second win on the road at Estancia gave the Roadrunners back their confidence.

"We didn't start the [league] season the way we would've liked to," said Coach Mel Silva, whose Roadrunners improved to 2-1-1 in league and share first with Godinez. "We had a great preseason. We faced some Division 1 teams and we played really well against them. When we started league, we lost the opener [to] Laguna Beach, and it just set us back. I think we were rushing everything after that the next two games.

"Today, it just reinforces to them that they are a quality team and they can play with quality [teams], but they have to come ready to play."

Saddleback survived a first half in which Estancia dominated for the most part and went into the break even.

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