Much like the rain clouds that threatened but never opened up on Tokay’s Hubbard Field, Tokay and Davis couldn’t break through in Tuesday’s Division I boys soccer playoff game.
After a scoreless tie through regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods, sixth-seeded Tokay walked away with a 4-2 shootout victory over No. 11 Davis. Lionardo Ruiz, Mathew Salas, Sebastian Quiroz and Jose Gonzalez scored on their shots for Tokay, while a Cristian Valencia save and a shot over the bar sealed Davis’ fate.
“My teammates told me that anything that happens out there, they love me no matter what, we’re all family,” said Gonzalez, who took the last shot to secure the victory. “So you know, I had to put them back in the second round and hope we beat Jesuit in the next round.”
The teams felt each other out in the first half, with two early saves by Davis goalkeeper Diego Sedillo. Tokay’s shots the rest of the half weren’t on target, while Davis worked to make Valencia save two shots as well.
“It was a difficult team to play. They’re big, physical kids,” Tokay coach Ruben Gomez said. “It was difficult for our kids. We lacked a lot of possession. They forced us to make mistakes. Yeah, we definitely earned it.”
In the second half, Tokay (16-1-2) managed to take just one shot, a Jeffry Orozco header that went wide with about nine minutes remaining in the game.
Davis (8-6-7) worked to create chances, but most of their shots were off target as well. Valencia blocked a free kick early in the game, and both goalkeepers made plays to prevent shots from developing.
It was a physical game, with four yellow cards given to Davis and three to Tokay.
“We knew Tokay’s team was very technically skilled and very good on the ball, so our goal was to pressure them hard and rattle them, and it worked,” said Davis coach Alex Park, who recognized Gomez before the game as a Sacramento State teammate from their playing days in the 1970s. “Their offense is incredible, but we thought we could counter them and get one behind them. I hate winning or losing on PKs.”
Yet the two 10-minute overtime periods went by without a mark on the scoreboard — though not for a lack of trying. The Tigers pressed hard as time wound down.
“We wanted to avoid it at all costs, but if it happens, we’re ready for it,” Gomez said about the shootout. “We practiced our penalty kicks during the week, and we did it last year. So yeah, you have things you don’t want, but just in case it happens, you’ve got to prepare.”
Both sides came close at several points in the game. Tokay had several crossing passes that could have been goals had the striker been one step closer, while Valencia made such intense saves that Park made it a point to seek him out after the game to say a few kind words.
Tokay got up early on the penalty kicks, with Ruiz making his first shot. Davis’ Angel Salgado missed over the top, and Salas made his shot. Valencia’s save of Carson Quick’s shot gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
Sedillo blocked a shot by Eduardo Guillen, and a goal by Davis’ Marco Iandolino cut Tokay’s lead to 2-1 with two rounds remaining.
Quiroz’s goal gave Tokay a 3-1 lead, and Ahmed Gebreil responded for Davis.
That brought Gonzalez to the line. He approached, took a stutter step, and sent it to the left side of the net to seal the game. Sedillo chose the correct side, but couldn’t reach far enough to get the block.
“Sometimes I think the kids overlook the first round,” Gomez said. “They have it in their mind that we want to go back to Jesuit, but I told the guys, this is a good team. This is Davis. They’re very organized and physical.”
Tokay will play at No. 3 Jesuit on Thursday at 3 p.m.