It was a much anticipated rematch of a great championship match from a year ago, but for a second consecutive championship matchup, Coronado couldn't keep up.
On Friday night at Campo Verde High School, No. 3 Phoenix Cortez beat No. 1 Coronado, 4-0, in the Division III boys’ soccer championship. The Colts (17-2-1) repeated as champions in a much different fashion than the 2012 version.
A season ago, Cortez won, 1-0, after Coronado missed a penalty kick in the first half and the Dons allowed the game's lone goal in the next 10 minutes.
On Friday night, Cortez came out the aggressors and controlled the ball for the majority of the first half. In the 19th minute Juan Mora scored with a shot into the left corner of the net just past the diving, outstretched arms of Coronado goalkeeper Victor Perez.
Cortez continued to attack and got a second goal on a breakaway shot by Roberto Valenzuela. Valenzuela made a nice move to get open and ran ahead of the defense before taking a hard shot that again went into the corner of the net.
After the second goal Coronado wanted to uptick its aggressiveness to get back into the match. Instead, the Dons allowed Cortez to continue to possess the ball and control the match.
“We came out flat today. I wish I knew why we came out with no aggression. Cortez was the better team tonight.” Coronado coach Mike Tsorin said.
Cortez added their third goal of the first half after a long pass led to a run out by Christopher Villarreal. The Colts took the 3-0 lead into halftime and the match that was billed as a must-see battle was a one-sided affair.
“I told our team before the match that they had to want it more than Coronado. I told them they have to prove it on the field. I couldn’t be more proud of this team right now.” Cortez coach Jose Corona said.
After the Colts took a 4-0 lead on a penalty kick goal by Valenzuela in the 48th minute, emotions began to run high. Two scuffles broke out with less than 20 minutes left in the match. Both benches had to be told to stay off the field as almost the entirety of players on the field became involved.
The Dons (20-1) and Cortez were clear favorites to meet here again in Div. III going into the season, and both teams lived up to lofty expectations, but it didn't help the Dons played without star sophomore Miguel Gonzalez.
“It was tough without Miguel. He was cleared to play before the match but we decided to hold him out.” Tsorin said.
Unlike the 2012 match, it took Coronado until late in the second half Friday night before the Dons finally started playing aggressive and got off some good shots at the net.
By then, Cortez was already planning where to put its latest championship trophy.