Los Angeles Soccer: Christian Gonzalez Diaz
It involves star attacker Brent Whitfield, a former Chivas USA outside back from Long Beach (Poly HS/Cal State Fullerton) who has played for several top local clubs and was set to serve as a player-coach for L.A. Misioneros, a PDL team that's brought in some big talent in a bid to compete for a trophy.
Misioneros cut ties with Whitfield just before the season began -- it also cost them former Galaxy defender Mike Randolph, whom Whitfield had brought to the club -- and he has turned up with the Ventura County Fusion, a club he bolted two years ago to play for pay with Hollywood United.
The Fusion opened their season Saturday night at Ventura College against, wouldn't you know, the Misioneros, who took a lead midway through the first half through Edwin Miranda (Reseda/Reseda HS and Cal State Northridge), who played last year for the L.A. Blues.
Whitfield gave Ventura a share of the points, scoring just before halftime.
The other two games involving local teams also finished 1-1. Cal State Northridge's Christian Gonzalez Diaz (Mission Viejo/Mission Viejo HS) scored in stoppage Friday to lift Orange County Blue Star against visiting Pali Blues, which got a goal from UCLA's Evan Raynr (Calabasas/Viewpoint HS). Blue Star rallied against Misioneros in L.A. two nights later, with Loyola Marymount's David Ponce (Foothill Ranch/Trabuco Hills HS and UC Santa Barbara) scoring the equalizer.
Elsewhere in minor-league soccer:
USL PRO: The L.A. Blues got a home win last week, and, true to form, it came away from Cal State Fullerton's Titan Stadium. The 2-1 triumph over Wilmington at Fullerton College was their first victory of the season and just their fourth in what now is 16 league home games.
The record at CSUF is far worse: no wins in nine games (0-6-3), including a “road” loss to the Galaxy in last year's U.S. Open Cup. That includes Sunday's 2-2 draw with Wilmington in the second meeting of the weekend.
The Blues (1-2-1) climbed out of the third-division league's cellar, from 11th to 10th, two points ahead of the Dayton Dutch Lions (0-2-2), the only USL Pro team without a victory, and that after winning just two of 24 league games last year. Midfielder Allan Russell, who converted a penalty kick and assisted Matt Fondy's opener in Friday's win, was selected to the USL Pro Team of the Week.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps did it again, prevailing at the finish against Redlands to claim the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Division III men's tournament.
The Stags (13-5-2), guided by original Galaxy captain Dan Calichman, outfired regular-season champion Redlands (18-3-1) in a penalty-kick shootout following a 1-1 draw on the road. It's the third straight year Claremont has beaten the Bulldogs in the SCIAC title game.
The teams traded goals 85 seconds apart midway through the second half, and Claremont stayed alive when goalkeeper Ricky Doar saved a penalty kick by Cody Carlson (Burbank/Burbank HS), after Daniel Price (Quartz Hill/Quartz Hill HS) was red-carded, with 2:40 remaining in overtime.
Matej Kustura scored for Redlands, which is No. 14 in the D3 rankings, in the 63rd minute. Eric Bean's header pulled the Stags even in the 64th.
Claremont had a 4-2 edge in the shootout, clinching when Jaison Kimura converted in the fourth couplet.
In other men's action:
- Cal Baptist (13-5-0) won a share of the Pacific West Conference title in its first season at the NCAA Division II level, clinching as Osvaldo Bastida (Anaheim/Katella HS) and Marc Hope scored second-half goals in a 3-1 victory over Dixie State (8-8-2). The Lancers, who went 10-2 to finish even with Hawaii Pacific in PacWest play, are still in their transition period and not eligible for the NCAA tournament, but they will play in the National Christian College Athletic Association tournament.
- Edgar Orozco (Santa Ana/Santa Ana HS, Corona HS and Golden West College) struck twice in the first 16 minutes and No. 13 Concordia (14-3-1) built a three-goal lead in the second half en route to a 4-2 romp over No. 10 Azusa Pacific (12-3-3) in a Golden State Athletic Conference tournament semifinal. UC Santa Barbara transfer Christian Ramirez (Garden Grove/La Quinta HS) had an assist hat trick for the Eagles, who will be home against Biola in the title game next Saturday.
- Cameroonian freshman Collins Egbe scored in the 84th minute and fifth-seeded Biola (12-5-2) topped No. 21 Fresno Pacific (12-6-0), the GSAC regular-season champ, in the tournament semifinals.
Big West Conference rivals Cal State Northridge and UC Riverside pulled off stunning upsets Saturday night, winning on the road against Southern California's most storied programs.
The Matadors rallied for a 3-2 nonconference triumph at eighth-ranked UCLA, and Riverside beat No. 16 UC Santa Barbara -- also by a 3-2 scoreline -- for the second time this season.
Northridge (7-7-1) halted the Bruins' second five-game winning streak of the campaign. Riverside (8-5-2) handed the Gauchos their second successive Big West loss, leaving the national power in danger of missing the conference and NCAA tournaments.
In Westwood, Jose Luis Garcia (Sun Valley/Poly HS) set up goals by Brian Behrad (Woodland Hills/Taft HS) in the 83rd minute and Edwin Rivas (Los Angeles/Santee Educational Complex) in the 87th as Northridge rallied from a late deficit.
Freshman Christian Gonzalez Diaz (Mission Viejo/Mission Viejo HS) gave the Matadors a 34th-minute lead, but Chandler Hoffman netted his 12th and 13th goals of the season in the next 10 minutes to push UCLA (10-4-1) ahead.
In Santa Barbara, Cesar Diaz Pizzarro (Chino/Ayala HS) scored in the 72nd minute to lift Riverside (8-5-2), which climbed to third place in the Big West.
UC Santa Barbara (9-5-1) rallied twice from deficits, with Luis Silva (Los Angeles/Salesian HS) scoring his 10th goal of the year and setting up Sam Garza for another, but couldn't hold off the Highlanders.
Richie Osborne provided the first lead, about midway through the first half, and Jon-Paul Medina made it 2-1 in the 63rd.
In other men's action:
- Freshman Cameron Iwasa tallied three minutes into overtime to send Big West co-leader UC Irvine (13-4-0) to a 1-0 victory over Orange County rival Cal State Fullerton (7-5-3). Jimmy Turner (Mission Viejo/Mission Viejo HS) played his 76th career game for the seventh-ranked Anteaters, fifth-most in program history.
UC Irvine netted two second-half goals to win its men's soccer showdown Saturday night at UC Santa Barbara, sending the Gauchos -- a perennial national power -- to their second loss in the young Big West Conference season.Miguel Ibarra (Lancaster/Lancaster HS) broke a scoreless draw in the 67th minute and Lester Hayes III added a second in the 80th for the seventh-ranked Anteaters (9-2-0), who bounced back from a 1-0 loss to Cal Poly in the conference opener Wednesday.
UC Santa Barbara (6-3-1), which was upset by UC Riverside in its Big West opener, nearly scored twice in front of 5,417 fans at Harder Stadium, but Irvine goalkeeper Andrew Fontein tipped a Sam Garza blast over his crossbar in the first half, and David Opoku shot just wide in a 1-on-1 opportunity in the second half.
The loss ended UCSB's 16-game home unbeaten streak.
In other men's action:
- Carlos Benavides (Woodland Hills/El Camino Real HS) assisted goals by Yarden Azulay, Christian Gonzalez Diaz (Mission Viejo/Mission Viejo HS) and Edwin Rivas (Los Angeles/Santee Educational Complex), and Cal State Northridge (5-4-1) vaulted atop the Big West standings with its second 3-0 triumph, an upset of visiting Cal State Fullerton (6-2-2). The Matadors had a 28-14 edge in shots, and Fullerton lost star midfielder Kevin Venegas (Lakewood/Los Alamitos HS) to an 82nd-minute red card.
- Matt Weisenfarth's goal just 52 seconds into the game was enough for UC Davis in a Big West Conference victory over visiting UC Riverside (6-3-1).
- Danny Day, Gabe Ramirez (Pasadena/Crescenta Valley HS) and Charles Izydorek (Redlands/Arrowhead Christian HS) scored goals and Redlands (8-3-0) improved to 5-0-0 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with a 3-0 victory over defending champ Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (6-3-1). The Stags outshot Redlands, 27-14, and had a 10-3 advantage on corner kicks.