Toluca gets ‘red’ of Chevy’s in semifinal
Deportivo Toluca finally saw red Wednesday night.
In a semifinal soccer match filled with four apparent red cards, red banners on the sideline, and even Toluca’s own red jerseys and matching hair dye, one final red flash pushed the squad over the edge. Toluca rallied around a red card to forward Cesar Estrada to beat fourth-seeded Chevy’s Fresh Mex 2-1 at South Tahoe Middle School in a game officially called for darkness.
“We stepped up, and that’s when we got the goal,” said Toluca technical director Frank Martinez, who questioned several calls in the increasingly chippy game.
“I think the first half, it was pretty close, but in the second half, we really controlled the game,” he said.
Midfielder Miguel Placiencia applied an exclamation point to that in the 28th minute of the second half, giving Toluca its second lead and a berth in the South Tahoe United Soccer League finals Sunday.
Toluca, which finished the regular season 13-1-1 for the best record in the league, never trailed in the semifinal. Adrian Martinez put Toluca up 1-0 early in the second half, but Chevy’s struck back almost immediately, taking advantage of the fact several Toluca players left the field and booting the kickoff directly into the goal to knot the score.
“At halftime, I told them, ‘You guys, if you want it, you’ve got to play hard,'” Frank Martinez said.
Toluca advanced to the championship game Sunday, which will follow the 5 p.m. consolation matchup between third-seeded Buena Vista – which fell 4-3 to Fusion in the first semifinal Wednesday – and Chevy’s. Toluca draws Fusion, the only team that beat Toluca in the regular season, and must play without Estrada and Caro. Referees, though, rescinded an apparent red card to Jesus Caro.
Toluca and Fusion split their two regular-season matchups, with Toluca winning the first game 3-0, then losing the second 3-2. The first and second seeds kick off in the championship game around 6:30, after the first game concludes.
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