Huge crowd watches upset in adult finals
A seldom-seen side of South Lake Tahoe showed up in full force as about 500 fans watched the final of the city’s adult soccer league at Bijou Elementary School.
With the predominately Latino crowd chanting back and forth in Spanish, Buena Vista upset defending champion San Antonio, scoring three unanswered goals in the first half on the way to a 4-2 victory.
Cesar Estrada had the first and last goals of the game for Buena Vista. He opened the scoring in the 10th minute, running on to a long through pass and finishing on the first touch.
Buena Vista got a bit of luck on the second goal 17 minutes later. Miguel Grajeda banged a header toward goal from 30 yards out, but it was right in the sun for goalkeeper Tony Garcia and bounced over his head into the net.
Jose Luis Lisaela closed the first-half scoring in the 36th minute, playing a quick give-and-go with Estrada that put him in on goal alone to blast the ball by Garcia.
San Antonio had several good scoring chances in the first half but couldn’t quite finish them and they started storming back in the second half. Alex Torres scored off of a rebound from Buena Vista goalkeeper Rigoberto Hernandez and performed a flip into splits to celebrate, then Valentina Rea pulled San Antonio within a goal in the 62nd minute with a streaking run through the Buena Vista defense.
That was as close as the defending champs would come, however, as Estrada scored a header off of a corner kick in the 78th minute.
“We’ve been playing in the finals for 10 years now, so we thought we could win,” Buena Vista coach Luis Ramirez said.
Ramirez’s team was helped by the absence of two of their opponents’ star players. The core of San Antonio’s squad was made up of players from South Tahoe High’s state champion 2003 team, but Leon Abravanel and Victor Mariscal left for college last week. That left Torres and defenders Tim Head and Joey Ferreira to do the heavy lifting and their team’s long-ball style played right into the hands of the older-but-wilier Buena Vista players.
“We got in a big hole early, but I thought we could have come back,” Head said. “We had a lot of chances, we just couldn’t put them away.”
League president Martin Jimenez was pleased with the crowd at the final, which featured several food booths and a raucous atmosphere.
“This is the best year we’ve had and this was a great final,” he said. “It’s become a real event.”
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