June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Costa Mesa rallies against Santa Ana to earn tie and stay atop league standings

Santa Ana’s Adrian Mendoza heads the ball as he and Costa Mesa’s Noe Martínez battle out a 50-50 challenge during Wednesday night’s Orange Coast League match up in Costa Mesa. (Photos: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone).

Costa Mesa High School’s boys soccer team is an Orange Coast League title contender, and Wednesday night’s 2-2 home draw against Santa Ana showed the Mustangs’ resilience.

Despite trailing 2-0 late in the first half, league leading Costa Mesa (8-4-2, 7-0-2) found the formula to get in the game against Santa Ana (7-6-6, 4-3-2) which couldn’t find a way to stop the Mustangs’ aerial attack.

“They played well with a lot of character and never gave up even when we were down 2-0,” said Costa Mesa Coach Santiago Guzman. “With this result my team showed me that we are ready to play CIF (playoffs) as the boys worked together to comeback from a 2-0 deficit against a very good team that played very composed on the backline.”

To see the slide show, click on the first photo:

Two goals from Mustangs sophomore Carlos Alcalá in the 37th and 60th minutes canceled out strikes from the Saints Adrian Mendoza (18th minute) and Anthony Rodríguez (30th minute) in a match that had action on both sides of the field. 

Alcalá had an opportunity to complete the turnaround for Costa Mesa with less than 10 minutes to go in the game, but Santa Ana goalkeeper Jesus Loaiza stood his ground and saved the penalty shot.

“I thought our overall performance was very good. I felt like the team always attempted to play forward and was always on the front foot looking to set the pace and tempo of the game,” said Saints Coach David Arvizu.  “Unfortunately we gave away two goals off two headers and that’s been a real struggle for us defensively this year. But overall I was very happy and proud of our teams performance tonight. 

“Loaiza in the second half came up big for us saving a PK (penalty kick) in what could have been their third goal so he kept us in the game and at the end of the night I’m very proud and happy for him as he helped us stay in the fight for CIF.”

Costa Mesa will have an opportunity to seal their fate Friday as they play Saddleback, currently second in the league and is currently two games behind the Mustangs in the league standings in what essentially will be the Orange Coast League title game. 

It will be a matchup that has a special feeling for Coach Guzman, who played four years of varsity soccer for the Roadrunners under head coach Mel Silva.

“Friday’s game have an extra special meaning of mix feeling as I graduated from Saddleback,” said Guzman.  “The goal and objective is still the same, we will be playing the league championship game. Saddleback is a great team, always on top fighting for league championships and a very well organized team. It is going to be a hard game, but after tonight’s performance the team is ready to take on them.”

Meanwhile the Saints, currently in fourth place in league play, will face the Orange Panthers in hopes of keeping Santa Ana’s run in CIF appearances the last three decades. Santa Ana has won the league title nine out of the last 10 years.

—Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone