Los Angeles Soccer: Janeth Arroyo
Their link goes far deeper than that.
Sanchez was a midfield creator and Gonzalez a backline anchor for Cal State L.A.'s men's team in the early 1990s -- a breeding ground, it turns out, for outstanding coaches.
They're among several Golden Eagles from the era, all prodigies of former Mexican national-teamer Leo Cuellar, who have gone on to guide title-winning teams, and the jobs they've done this year -- no matter what occurs this weekend -- have been among their best.
Sanchez returned just five players from last year's champions for what was supposed to be a "restructuring" campaign. His Mounties are 17-1-4, ranked second in the state and fourth in the nation, and one victory -- Friday morning at 10 against Northern California's West Valley College (16-4-2) -- from an opportunity to defend their title on Sunday.
Gonzalez's Falcons (22-1-2) have more experience but are somewhat of an underdog, forced to knock off the nation's Nos. 1 and 3 teams to reach the final four. They're no favorite at Canyons, either: NorCal powerhouse Santa Rosa (17-0-5), the state's lone unbeaten side, is their foe in Friday's 4 p.m. semifinal.
The other games: Canyons (16-5-2) vs. Fresno City (15-4-3) in a men's semi at 1 p.m., and San Bernardino Valley (17-1-3) vs. Fresno City (19-2-2) in a women's clash at 7 p.m.
Cerritos College is heading to the state JC women's soccer final four for the third time in four years after ousting top-seeded L.A. Pierce on Saturday in Woodland Hills.Miranda Madrid (Lakewood/St. Joseph HS) set up goals by Daniela Martin (La Puente/La Puente HS) in the 22nd minute and Liliana Leos (Sylmar/South East HS) in the 26th to lead the Falcons (21-1-2), who won state titles in 2007 and 2008, to a 2-1 victory.
Third-seeded San Bernardino Valley (18-1-4) also advanced to next weekend's state finals at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, scoring three times in the first half en route to a 4-2 victory at No. 2 seed Ventura (17-3-2). Cerritos will face Santa Rosa (17-0-5), Northern California's top seed, and SBVC will take on Fresno City (19-2-2) in Friday's semifinals.
Defending champion Mt. San Antonio and Canyons advanced to the men's final four. The Mounties (17-1-4), the state's top-ranked team, routed San Diego City, 3-0, and will face West Valley (16-4-2) in the semis. Canyons (16-5-2) scored a 3-1 upset of second-seeded Santa Ana (15-4-4) and will meet Fresno City (15-4-3), NorCal's No. 1 seed.