EL CENTRO – The Southwest Eagles kicked off their 2016 Boys’ Varsity soccer pre-season Wednesday night in El Centro tying the Yuma Catholic Shamrocks 1-1.
Early in the first half at the 31 minute mark, Yuma Catholic attacked the right wing when forward Jonah Franco (#15) looked to center the ball but was kicked out of the box by Eagles defender (#14) Bryan Corona.
The Shamrocks had a free kick opportunity with 22:00 still to go in the first period, but defender Nathan DeWitt (#17) over-shot the goal.
With 17 minutes before intermission, the Eagles gained ground and began to threaten, positioning the ball through the Shamrock defense. Nevertheless, a bouncing kick by Eagles striker Jesus Escalante (#10) missed wide left. Midfielder Jordi Favela (#15) took the very next shot for Southwest, but it was deflected away by the Yuma Catholic defenders.
Beginning to display more offensive confidence, Eagles fullback Raul Rojas (#23) took a shot on goal from quarter field that sailed high. On the kick-out by Yuma Catholic, Southwest forward Alejandro Cardenas (#7) stole back the ball, then swiftly passed it to Rojas, adding a touch-pass of his own to teammate Escalante who kicked one into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead with 11 minutes left in the first half.
Yuma Catholic cooked up a chance to answer back when Eagles defender Christopher Carrillo (#2) thwarted a set-up attempted 15-foot out by Shamrocks forward Eluterio Gutierrez (#7), to close out the half with the score still 1-0 in favor of Southwest.
Ten minutes into the second half, Shamrocks midfielder Edgar Gutierrez (#16) booted a shot out from behind the box that deflected off the top of the crossbar.
With time running out in the last half, Yuma Catholic lined up for a corner kick from the right side. Franco served up a curling kick-in that hovered just enough for teammate Bobby Cortazar (#22) to blast in a point-blank header tying things up at 1-1 with 13 minutes to go in the game.
The Shamrock defenders were able to stop two shots on goal by Southwest in the final seconds to conclude the contest at 1-1.
“We are a fairly a new group feeling each other out,” said Rafael Contreras, Southwest’s Varsity head coach. “As the season goes on, we’ll be more able to utilize our qualities. At this point, we are still trying to find those out.”