With less than a minute to go and a man down, Santa Ana still had a chance to tie the game against Santa Monica with a free kick.
As the hometown fans rose to their feet in unison, freshman midfielder Cristian Alvarez stood across the ball ready to take the Dons into overtime.
From the bench Head Coach Jose Vasquez instructs Alvarez to shoot directly at goal, “directo al arco,” Vasquez shouts. The referee blows the whistle and the crowd goes silent as Alvarez’s strike was blocked and cleared by the defensive wall of Corsairs ending the Dons season.
Injuries and missed opportunities were key to SAC losing against Santa Monica College 2-1 in the second round of the playoffs Tuesday, Nov. 20.
Because of injuries the Dons started off playing defensively and looking to hit the Corsairs on the counter with striker Kevin Ruiz and SAC’s top goal scorer Jesus Nuñez out of the line-up.
At the half the score was tied at zero but it was only a matter of time until the Corsairs would break the deadlock as they dominated the Dons in time of possession and shots on goal.
About 10 minutes into the second half, Santa Monica got their first goal which lit a fire under Santa Ana and they started to push forward looking to equalize.
As the Dons gained momentum offensively, multiple missed opportunities proved to be costly when the Corsairs scored their second goal of the game.
With only a few minutes left in the second half it appeared to be over for Santa Ana until Miguel Gomez, the star for the Dons in their first playoff game scored a goal in the 89th minute cutting the lead in half.
Feeling the pressure of time winding down, freshman Frankie Camacho picked up his second yellow card of the game leaving the Dons a man down in stoppage time.
Santa Ana had one last chance to keep their playoff run alive as they earned a free kick outside the box in the last minute of stoppage time, but the ball ricocheted off the Corsairs’ defensive wall and it was over.