South Tahoe boys soccer rallies to tie rival Truckee 2-2 |

South Tahoe boys soccer rallies to tie rival Truckee 2-2

Anthony Gentile
South Tahoe midfielder Brandon Estrada dribbles the ball with teammate Cesar Hernandez and three Truckee defenders in his wake in the Vikings’ league match against the Wolverines on Wednesday, Sept. 30, at South Tahoe Middle School.
Anthony Gentile / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — In the first meeting between the South Tahoe and Truckee boys soccer teams this season, the rivals ultimately couldn’t be separated. The Vikings and Wolverines played to a 2-2 tie on Wednesday, Sept. 30, at South Tahoe Middle School, a result that keeps South Tahoe undefeated in league play.

“It’s not as good as a win, but it’s good because we made a comeback,” Vikings midfielder Gaby Martinez said. “They had us in the first half, but in the second half we came back strong.”

South Tahoe (3-0-4 I-A Northern) struck first in Wednesday’s match, but trailed 2-1 at halftime. The Vikings jumped out to a lead in the eighth minute when a cross from Cristian Ramos found Brandon Estrada in the box; Estrada’s header hit off the underside of the crossbar and in to make it 1-0.

Truckee (8-5-1, 4-2-1) answered later in the opening half with a pair of goals to go ahead 2-1. In the 19th minute, a strike from Jose Gonzalez from 25 yards out beat an outstretched Antony Lopez and tied the match.

“It was a really physical and intense game. It was a fair score.”Eder VazquezVikings head coach

Ten minutes after pulling even, the Wolverines grabbed the lead. Manny Sarabia took on three South Tahoe defenders just outside the box and flicked a through ball that freed Oscar Ingnez. The midfielder sent a low cross toward the net that Joel Gomez put away to make it 2-1.

“It boiled down to two teams playing a good game, back and forth,” Truckee coach Casey Eberhardt said. “They had their chances and we had our chances.”

The Vikings trailed by that margin at halftime, and looked to get back to their possession-oriented style of play. Chances were hard to come by for both teams at the start of the second half as Truckee clung to its one-goal lead.

“We talked about playing our game,” Vikings coach Eder Vazquez said. “That’s basically the mentality we came out with in the second half, and it paid off.”

Midway through the half, South Tahoe drew a foul outside the right edge of the penalty box, and converted the chance with a picturesque strike. Martinez fired a shot that curled into the top left corner of the net — the 25-yard free kick tied the match 2-2 in the 64th minute.

“I hit it and saw it in midair — everything was slow motion,” Martinez said. “I knew it was going over the keeper and in the goal, I just waited for it to hit the net.

“It’s our rival, so there’s nothing better that.”

Both teams had chances after Martinez’s goal, but neither could break the deadlock. The best chance for either side came with two minutes left — a through ball created a breakaway for Truckee’s Alex Lopez, but South Tahoe’s Chuy Vazquez thwarted the threat with a slide tackle in the box.

“It was a really physical and intense game,” Eder Vazquez said. “It was a fair score. We could have definitely played better, but it is what it is.”

With one match left in the first round of league play, both South Tahoe and Truckee are in playoff position in a wide open Div. I-A Northern League. The Vikings and Wolverines sit third and fourth, respectively, behind Sparks (5-0-1) and Elko (5-1-1) — Lowry (3-2-1) and Spring Creek (3-3-1) are just outside the top four.

“We have a good enough team to be in first place, but some of the results haven’t been what we expected,” Eder Vazquez said. “I’m happy with where we are right now — we haven’t lost yet.”

South Tahoe returns to action at home on Saturday, Oct. 3, when it concludes the first round against Fernley. Kickoff at Viking Stadium is scheduled for noon.

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