SOCCER: GHS boys keep slim playoff hopes alive with 2-1 win

The magnitude of the final week of the regular season took on heavier implications for the Gilroy High boys soccer team and head coach Armando Padilla after learning they must forfeit last Friday’s 1-0 win at Alvarez because an ineligible player, who received two yellow cards in the previous game, played in Friday’s match.

“A double yellow means you are out for a two-game suspension unless you appeal it. If there is unsportsmanlike behavior involved, then it’s an obvious suspension. But in this case, there was not,” Padilla said. “The problem is there was no game report filed by the referee, so it was like the referee never worked the game. The score is final but it’s like all the cautions are a wash. Apparently, as coaches, we are supposed to serve the sentence, but I never got a chance to appeal. So I just assumed, because it has happened with other teams, it was OK to play my guy.

“They are going to have to change the process that’s in place.”

The situation is still a bit murky as of Wednesday, but otherwise it’s pretty straight forward for GHS. Bottom line: The Mustangs will not earn either of the two automatic bids up for grabs in the Tri-County Athletic League into the CCS playoffs and two must-win games sat on the docket entering the week.

It started with North Salinas on Tuesday night.

A pair of highlight-reel goals in the second half from senior Jonathan Diaz De Leon and Efren Pineda lifted the Mustangs to a 2-1 victory over the Vikings on Senior Night in Gilroy, holding together hopes of a postseason berth.

“It’s like a maybe to CCS right now so this win was really important,” Pineda said.

GHS (9-10-1 overall, 5-5-1 TCAL) allowed a goal in the 35th minute of the first half and trailed 1-0 at the break.

“We tried to calm down and play as a team, because at the beginning we were kind of playing their game,” Diaz De Leon said.

The Mustangs settled into their priorities in the second half, and in the 53rd minute Diaz De Leon produced the equalizer. Gazelle-like, the lanky forward sliced around and dribbled through four Vikings defenders and tapped the ball past the keeper. It was his 18th goal of the season. Carlos Macanita Jimenez had the assist.

“I feel like I have a lot of time,” Diaz De Leon said. “I’ve just learned how to stay calm when I get close to the goal.”

In the 70th minute, Pineda took a pass from senior Gabe Contreras at the edge of the 18. Pineda’s splendid footwork gave him space to his right foot and he ripped a seeing eye shot to the upper-left corner of the net for the game winner.

“I just saw the goal,” Pineda said. I’ve been missing so many lately, I guess it was time.”

With that one out of the way, the Mustangs must win or tie at Salinas, who will finish second in the TCAL, on Thursday night to give themselves the best chance at an at-large bid into sectionals.

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