With two wins and a tie, the Oakdale United U12 boys won their bracket and advance to the Sweet 16 round of competition in Association Cup play.
The boys were at the Cherry Island soccer complex on Saturday, opening against the Corning United. After trading goals the entire match Oakdale prevailed in a very exciting 4-3 game. The first two Oakdale goals were from Austin Neaves on assists from Michael Arauza and Bryce Hobbs. In the second half Arauza scored on a header assisted from Roman Dias, and Jake Burchell added the final goal assisted by Hobbs. A last minute save by goalie Derek Martinez preserved the win. Ryan Hodge and Lane Trapp dominated the middle of the field and the entire team did a great job passing the ball as well as showing they could score from anywhere on the field, including three goals off of header shots over the weekend.
The second match of the day was against the River City Knights. The Knights had defeated Oakdale earlier in the season, 2-1, but this time the Oakdale boys came through with a 4-0 win. After a tight first half and a 1-0 lead on a goal from Hobbs assisted by Dias, the boys took control of the game and scored three more times in the second half on goals from Arauza assisted by Trapp, Neaves assisted by Hobbs, and another goal by Hobbs assisted by Collin Harrity. The defense was led by Harrity, Thomas Gonzales, Caleb Goodrum, Jacob Pierson, Derrick Pennington and goalie Martinez, who were all spectacular in the shutout.
“It was incredible to me to see how much we had improved against a team we had lost to at the beginning of the season. The 4-0 score left no doubt on which team had improved the most,” said coach Jaime Martinez.
Sunday’s match was against the Santa Rosa Storm, who had only allowed a single goal all weekend. After being down 1-0 at halftime, Oakdale took control of the second half and had many scoring opportunities. The tying goal came with 10 minutes left in the match on a header from Dias assisted by Pennington.
The boys are peaking at the right time, said Martinez.
“They believe in each other, and are playing with a lot of heart and passion. We’re all very proud of them for their efforts this weekend especially since we only have one player with competitive soccer experience prior to this season,” he said. “Going into the weekend they were determined to not let their season end and they were rewarded by winning their bracket and advancing to the Sweet 16 in Morgan Hill next weekend.”