Poly boys’ soccer defeats King in Tilson semifinals
By Dennis Pope
RIVERSIDE >> For a side that had won its last seven games, many by large margins, Riverside Poly boys soccer team came out “a little deer-in-the-headlights for a semifinal,” Bears coach Alex Figueroa said.
Poly missed an early penalty kick and played to a 2-2 second-half draw before edging Riverside King, 5-4, in a semifinal shootout at the 28th annual Tom Tilson Holiday Classic.
“You name it (and) we did it wrong. We even blew a PK,” Figueroa said. “It was a great matchup against King. It’s always like a playoff game. They had the run of it in the first half but in the second half we had six or seven chances and we put a couple of them in.”
Senior midfielder Ivan Cano scored in the second half and had the game-winning spot kick as Poly (9-2-0 overall) converted on all five of its attempts in a shootout to advance to play Corona in Tuesday’s championship game.
“Job well done overall although I’m not happy about having blown two leads,” Figueroa said. “No coach will ever be happy about that, and then we had to make all five of our PKs in the shootout so it was as close a game as you’re going to find.”
Cano, a two-time all-Inland Valley League selection, controlled much of the action for Poly, which last weekend topped Group A with nine goals while conceding zero. The Bears defeated Vista Murrieta 4-2 in a quarterfinal round matchup early Saturday.
“We missed a few clear opportunities (against King) that I believe would’ve put the game away,” Cano said. “I give King credit because they also missed a few chances.”
Evan Townsend poached the opening goal in the early minutes of the second half for Poly, poking a loose ball near the goalmouth into the back of the net.