The Auburn Mountainview Lions boys soccer team is back on the right track and has won two games in a row after beating Foster High School, 2-1, in a non-league contest on April 14.
“We’ve been focusing a lot on team chemistry and getting to know each other play and it’s starting to produce,” said Head Coach Joey West.
The season hasn’t gone the way the Lions wanted up to this point. But after a win over Todd Beamer and Foster, the Lions have a chance to pick up ground in the standings with its 5-6-0 overall (3-5-0 league) record.
“We started the season a little rough … But we’re definitely finding our team chemistry and really working well together,” said senior Colin Lane.
Against Foster, the Lions played one of their best games of the season. The Bulldogs are sitting in second place in the 2A KingCo standings. It may seem late for a non-league game, but the Lions can use this to their advantage.
To start out the game, Auburn Mountainview got off to a good start. The Lions controlled the ball and helped keep possession in the Foster half of the field. Early on, they struggled to break through the Bulldogs’ back line. But in the 18th minute, the Lions found a way, and it started with a play from senior Colin Lane.
“He’s our solo captain and he shows it on the field … He’s a true leader,” West said.
Lane took the ball down the far sideline using his speed to beat the defenders. He sent a ball into the box, and the right foot of Ahmed Tandia cashed in and gave Auburn Mountainview a 1-0 lead.
Lane said he gained a lot of soccer knowledge from watching the sport with his dad.
“I grew up studying lots of film. I watched lots of games with my dad,” Lane said.
Foster would continue to try and get their forwards open space, but Lane was sure to slow them down. The Bulldogs got their goal after a spell of good play late in the half, and with under 30 seconds remaining, Foster evened the game 1-1.
“It’s a new game. I told them ‘You have one half, it’s a short game, give it everything you got,’” said West to his team at halftime.
In the second half, Auburn Mountainview was able to take momentum back after Foster built some late in the first half.
One of the reasons for that momentum was Lions goalkeeper Jonathan Ochoa-Felix’s ability to make some incredible saves. His play and instant decision saves were incredible. His play even befuddled his own coach: “He just knows, I don’t understand how he gets on the end of stuff. I don’t know how he does it. It’s fun to watch,” West said of his keeper.
“We’re definitely hyping him up tonight,” Lane said.
With 11 minutes remaining, the Lions took the lead, and that would be the final goal scored in the content. Thanks to nifty dribbling and speed, senior Andy Pablo Jose sent a ball that hit Benji Toscano’s chest. The pass off of Toscano’s chest found Edgar Soltero, who put it in the bottom right corner of the goal.
The Lions take on first place Auburn Riverside on April 18 and could gain ground in the standings with three teams in front of them. But the plan coming into this season was to get the team ready for this part of the season.
“I kind of eased into the season and was more relaxed but I’m starting to tighten up the reins and expectations are getting higher,” West said.
Ochoa-Felix is ready for the challenging schedule ahead: “I’m excited man. We’re playing some of the best teams in the biggest games right now. I’m just ready to play and to win, and hopefully win out,” he said.