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Left by Alvarez Floors Reseda in Overtime, 3-2

February 22, 2001|DAN LOUMENA

Two minutes is all that separated the San Fernando and Reseda boys' soccer teams from going to penalty kicks to decide a City Section second-round playoff game Wednesday at San Fernando.

But sophomore Fernando Alvarez bent a left-footed free kick into the goal from outside the right edge of the 18-yard box after Reseda was called for a foul and the No. 8-seeded Tigers advanced with a 3-2 victory in double overtime.

San Fernando will play No. 1-seeded El Camino Real in Woodland Hills on Friday.

Senior Elias Guardado brought San Fernando (11-7-1) back from a 1-0 deficit with two goals in a three-minute span midway through the first half.

But Coach Arturo Vasquez of San Fernando said he called on Alvarez for the free kick because of his strong left leg.

"I knew I'd get to take the kick because it was on the right side, but I didn't know if I'd be able to make it," Alvarez said.

"I thought it was going in after I kicked it."

In a wide-open and fast-paced game that featured 37 shots, the Tigers put 10 on goal compared to four by the No. 9-seeded Regents.

Reseda struck first when William Sims put in a rebound 11 minutes into the game.

Sims scored early in the teams' previous meeting for a 1-0 victory by the Regents.

The Tigers won the first meeting with Reseda this season, 3-1, and claimed the Valley Mission League title by one game over Reseda.

The Regents (22-7-3) continually fed the ball to their junior forward, who evened the game three minutes before the end of regulation with a remarkable right-footed shot across the face of the goal. Sims took a feed from Jessie Diaz on a counter-attack at full speed and struck the ball while moving to his right, away from the goal.

Sims gave Reseda an opportunity to end the game in the second half of the second overtime when he broke free down the right sideline and fed a perfect cross to a wide-open Freddy Ayala, whose header was wide left by two feet.

The Regents also had two shots from within the 18-yard box that sailed far above the crossbar in the first overtime and Tiger goalkeeper Edgar Rodriguez made a leaping grab of a corner kick by Rosendo Gonzales that Sims was poised to head in.

"In the first overtime we missed some opportunities, and we could have finished it in the second [overtime]," Reseda Coach Julio Castillo said. "We missed a wide-open net, and when you don't finish, this is what can happen."

Guardado, a hard-working forward who didn't begin playing organized soccer until he was 12, put in a rebound in the 26th minute to even the score and gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead with a blast similar to Sims' right-to-left shot.

"This is a great win for us and gives us a chance to play another hard team," Guardado said.

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