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Perez header decides opener in 77th minute

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After the throw-in from Jordan Kron sails over Lathrop High keeper Omar Guzman and East Union's Dante Pasquini, an opportunistic Eric Medina controls the ball before touching in the Lancers' first ...


POSTED September 14, 2010 2:51 a.m.
Ricardo Perez admitted there was a little luck involved in his late goal that decided East Union High’s 4-3 win over visiting Lathrop at Dino Cunial Field Monday.

But he figured karma owed the Lancers (1-0, 3-2-2 overall) in the Valley Oak League opener.

Just moments before, Perez had a 1-on-1 opportunity thwarted by Lathrop goalkeeper Omar Guzman eight saves). Teammates Alfonso Solorzano and Ruben Aguilar each took their turn placing well-struck shots, but those attempts were again slapped away by Guzman.

All that led to the match-deciding cornerkick in the 77th minute. Aguilar crossed it from the left corner, and Perez connected with a head shot that directed the ball a foot inside the right post.

“I didn’t really think I was going to get it. I just kind of put my head in there,” Perez said. “I thought it was going to go outside, but it barely went in.”

It was a well-contested match — which featured 37 fouls and 10 bookings (all yellow cards) — between two teams trying to make statements to the rest of the VOL.

“It was an even game and we were able to keep them on their toes,” Lathrop coach Jason Biedermann said. “It was a battle the whole way. I look forward to when they come to our house.”

East Union had four different goal scorers, while Lathrop midfielder Miguel Chavez led all players with three — though he was the beneficiary of good one-man efforts of teammates on two of them.

The Spartans (0-1, 2-6-1) took the first lead in the 11th minute. Sophomore striker Gilberto Duran, the team’s leading scorer going into the contest, had a breakaway up the middle but was shoved and tripped up while charging into EU’s penalty box.

Most of the surrounding players froze expecting a call, and Chavez took the opportunity to blast it home.

The goal was costly. Duran stayed down after the play, resulting in a 25-minute delay as paramedics arrived and carted him off the field.

 “I saw him go down and knew he wouldn’t get up,” Chavez said. “I know Berto; he’s not the type to dive. I knew something was up right away. That was kind of scary.”

East Union answered with three straight goals from Eric Medina (30th minute), Miguel Barbosa (38th) and Mitchell Hale (50th). Hale’s goal was the Lancers’ prettiest: A volley from the top of the penalty box off Agustin Solis’ cornerkick.

The Lancers were outplayed for most of the first half until the attack produced three near-misses. Jordan Kron helped jump start the offense by assisting EU’s first two goals — with throw-ins. He had another one actually bounce into the Lathrop cage in the 51st minute, but goals cannot be scored on throw-ins.

Kron also had a big save in the opening minute of the second half, clearing out Danny Becerra’s open-net shot following a free kick.

“You’re just not used to having someone throw that far,” Biedermann said. “That was impressive, actually. They were throwing it to the opposite post and stacked their players there, and we were cheating too far up not expecting that.

“It was just too little, too late in figuring that one out. Next time we can anticipate that.”

Chavez quickly got Lathrop back in it. Lathrop was awarded a penalty with 25 minutes left when Dante Pasquini appeared to execute a clean tackle to jar the bar free from Wilmer Alvarez. Chavez put in his second goal to close his team in.

And in the 70th minute, Chavez caught EU goalkeeper Dominic Riella (four saves) unawares with a laser shot from outside the penalty box near the right touchline, and the ball settled opposite panel untouched.

“We’re still working, trying to jell,” said EU co-head coach Allan Green, adding that six players did not start because of either injuries or disciplinary reasons. “It’s hard when you don’t have everybody come to practice, and we have three starters coming off injuries.

“The result could have still been better for us. We had too many mistakes in the front and back, but we got the ‘W.’”

East Union meets crosstown rival Sierra on the road Wednesday with hopes of avenging a previous 3-0 loss to the Timberwolves. Lathrop heads to Escalon today.
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