YUMA, Ariz. – Ninety minutes? Not enough. Double OT? Nope. Five penalty kicks apiece? Still not enough time. The Arizona Western men’s soccer team finished off Chandler-Gilbert on the first round of overtime penalty kicks to win 5-4 on penalties after tying 1-1 through regulation and two overtimes.
Both teams were tied 4-4 on penalties after five kicks. Once that happens, the teams trade kicks one-for-one until someone wins. Jafet Sanchez stepped up and coolly drilled home his kick for AWC (14-4-3 overall). Chandler-Gilbert’s (11-9-1 overall) Blake Lynch shanked his over the top of the goal, and the Mats rushed the field.
At the start of the penalty kicks, Juan Arango and Archie Gurrola both slotted kicks home. Chandler-Gilbert’s Anton Zupic and Adrian Moran both matched their AWC counterparts.
CGCC’s Jacob Faircloth made a diving stop to deny Kacey Smith on the third PK, and Alex Flores put CGCC up 3-2 after three kicks.
Beto Garcia stepped up for the Mats and easily sent his past Faircloth, and then Noe Galindo made a diving save that stonewalled Carter Rumsey and kept the kicks tied 3-3. AWC’s Steven Salas and CGCC’s Beto Vidana both made their kicks to send the PK’s to overtime.
AWC created excellent chances throughout the match, but the Mats didn’t find the back of the net until the second half. AWC won a free kick on the left edge of the box in the 52nd minute, and Ezequiel Quijada drilled it. The ball deflected off the wall and past a diving Faircloth to put the Mats up 1-0. It was his team-leading 11th goal of the season.
A Matador foul allowed Chandler-Gilbert to capitalize and tie the match in the 62nd minute. Alex Flores sent a free kick from near midfield into the box, and Anton Zupic flicked it over Heriberto Ruiz’s outstretched hands for a goal.
The Mats created solid chances after that and sent dangerous ball after dangerous ball into the box, but that final touch was elusive. AWC outshot Chandler-Gilbert 18-10, although neither team could put the ball on net consistently.
AWC finished with 10 men after Quijada picked up his second yellow of the match, but the defense held firm to keep Chandler-Gilbert from taking advantage.
This was the first time since 2010 that AWC has gone to penalty kicks. That season, AWC won against Phoenix
With the win, AWC advances to the Region I Semifinals and will travel to Pima Community College on Wednesday. Kick-off is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.
Arizona Western College is one of the top community colleges in Arizona. The college boasts partnerships with all three state universities that include face-to-face classes in Yuma. AWC leads the state in enrollment growth over the past 10 years and handed out more than 2,300 certificates and degrees in 2016-17.