Boys Soccer: Lincoln and Washington fight to 1-1 tie

Lincoln's Herman Felipe Herrera (left) and Andres Gustavo Kilgore (right) go to the air with Washington's Ahmed Abdo (center) to make a play on a ball on Tuesday at Lincoln High School. (Photo by Eric Luis)

By Jeremy Balan

Washington High School’s boys soccer team may have lost some ground in the Academic Athletic Association X Division playoff race Tuesday, but it showed it can play with the league’s best.

The Eagles worked a 1-1 tie on the road against Lincoln, the Y Division’s top team, but due to Balboa’s 13-1 drubbing of Wallenberg, Washington fell out of the X Division’s final playoff spot with six games to play.

Lincoln senior Kendall Benavides Kwan (top) and Washington's Syed Hassan jockey for position on Tuesday at Lincoln High School. (Photo by Eric Luis)

“We’re glad we got a point and we got a little lucky,” said Washington head coach Jose Carrera. “We have to prove ourselves to everyone, not just them. We cannot underestimate anyone, because every point is important.”

After a scoreless first half, the Mustangs (9-2-1) struck first in the 45th minute, when a long clearance from Lincoln defender Juan Carlos Velasquez sailed over the head of a Washington defender and was collected behind the Eagles’ back line by forward Nelson Mitchell Vasquez.

All alone with Washington goalkeeper Paulo Romero, Vasquez chipped the ball into the net to give the Mustangs the 1-0 lead.

But it didn’t take long for the Eagles (8-2-2) to respond.

A minute later, a Lincoln handball gave Washington a free kick just outside the penalty area.

Washington senior Misael Marin took the kick from about 15 yards out and bent a perfect strike around the Lincoln wall and just inside the right post to knot the game up at 1-1.

“He put it in a perfect spot,” said Lincoln head coach Kenyatta Scott. “He put it right where it needed to be and any coach would take a play like that. The result was spot-on.”

Washington had its share of scoring opportunities throughout, but it was Romero that preserved the tie for the Eagles. The senior had nine total saves in the match, including a sliding save in the 53rd minute on another Lincoln one-on-one opportunity.

“He’s an excellent goalkeeper,” Carrera said. “He gives me and all of the players a lot of confidence to play the rest of the game.”

Lincoln senior Kendall Benavides Kwan (right) and Washington senior Rasam Aminzadeh go toe-to-to on Tuesday at Lincoln High School. (Photo by Eric Luis)

While Washington felt relieved to get a point, the Lincoln sideline felt a win may have slipped through its fingers. Along with their scoring opportunities that didn’t pan out, the Mustangs had two goals negated by offside calls in the first half.

“There was no question [they were offside] and those are young mistakes that we, as a team, should not be making,” Scott said. “To be in that position — we did this to ourselves.”

Lincoln is sitting comfortably atop the Y Division, but the Eagles will likely be in a fight for the final spot in the X Division into the final week, and will get another stiff test Thursday in undefeated Lowell, which beat Washington 6-1 in the first game of the season.

Many key players were missing for Washington in that early match, including Romero.

“It’s important we win every game from now on,” Carrera said. “Our next game is going to be our biggest test. [In the first game against Lowell] we didn’t have our complete team.”

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13 Comments

  1. Sag mode says:

    Damn how is it that the eagles are 8-2-2 but are still fighting for a playoff spot? Thanks j balan for the coverage very appreciated

    • Nate says:

      Like last year, the Boys Soccer divisions are very lopsided. The X Division has five quality teams battling for a playoff spot, while the Y Division has only two teams of that caliber.

      It all comes back to trying to get in more games in the season. Boys soccer could do the schedule like football and have each team play the others only once, but that means only 12 games. The current system allows for 15-16 games for each team, though the downside is that the divisions are devised based on the prior year’s results, and that doesn’t necessarily offer the best prediction of what can occur. Who knew that SFI and ISA would be so strong, and that O’Connell would have an off year?

      • Lowell House says:

        Five quality teams? More like three, compared to the other division’s two. SFI and ISA aren’t “strong.” Neither deserves to make the playoffs.

        • Huskies says:

          SFI, does not deserve to make the playoffs, does not deserve to be in contention. Just a school of less than 200 kids, all from third world countries who just immigrated. Who are on their first year of sports, yes you are right the caliber is not that high. Maybe Lowell should think of getting out of the pond that is the AAA and move on to larger waters where they will be really tested like the NCS.
          Let me know when your school brings home a state medal, oh yeah your school does not do well vs. other D I schools in the state. People who live in glass houses should not be throwing rocks.

          • Lowell House says:

            Don’t get upset because I spoke the truth. I was trying to be diplomatic about it, but let’s put it into perspective: SFI and ISA both suck. 6-0 and 9-2? With half of our second string? Ouch. I won’t deny that the AAA sucks, but it’s not our fault. I’ve never looked into it, but I don’t think we can play in a different league than all of the other city schools, or we would, because only having one competitor is pretty boring. Also, when do we play other D-I schools? If you mean the preseason games, then you have to realize that they are hardly an accurate representation of our abilities. They’re usually the first games of the year and they’re before final cuts at Lowell so coach can use them as an in-game tryout. I guarantee you that the Lowell team that smashed Wash 4-0 today (who are supposed to be competitors) would bring it hard to University, International, Urban or even SI. SFI never will.

            • Nate says:

              1) In my book, if the season is almost 2/3 completed and a team is still in contention for a playoff spot, that is a quality team. By that measure, both ISA and SFI are quality teams.

              2) Lowell draws from a talent pool that is significantly deeper than other San Francisco schools. So does Mission. A higher percentage of their student populations have played organized soccer at a high level for several years. This isn’t to say Lowell or Mission has anything to apologize for, but it does mean that comparing them to the smaller schools or the schools with less deep talent pools isn’t that illuminating.

              For example, here at Galileo we have a majority Asian population. We have a small-medium sized Latino population and hardly any white kids, which are the two ethnic groups that typically play soccer most. As a result, our talent goes in cycles. Four years ago we had a terrific team that beat Lowell in the semifinals and lost to Mission in the championship. However, last year we had a majority of players for whom the Gal team was the first organized team they had ever played for.

              3) That said, I can understand the frustration of Lowell players due to the uneven quality of the league. What would be cool would be a kind of model based on professional international soccer, in which there is a top league and lower leagues beneath it. All the top schools, whether they are public or private, would battle to be in the top league. Every year the bottom two would go down and the top two could move up.

              For logistical reasons it will never happen, but if might offer the top teams and the weaker teams what both want: more competitive games and fewer lopsided games.

              Cheers, and good luck to both SFI and Lowell!

              • Lowell House says:

                Nate, let’s do some math. (After all, it is Lowell) Lowell has roughly 2700 students. Roughly 40% are male. 2700 x .4= 1080. Now if we take into account racial demographics like you did, and only look at whites and latinos, then they are a combined roughly 20% of Lowell (which is mostly asian of some sort). 1080 x .2 = 216. 216 students ins’t that many, especially when you compare those 216 eligible boys with the amount at schools like Lincoln, Washington, Balboa or O’Connell. Agreed it much more than galileo, But still, we’ve just had a strong program for these couple of years. Lowell hasn’t historically been good.

      • THE TRUTH says:

        LINCOLN AND LOWELL ARE THE best to team s
        by far

  2. Anonymous says:

    its funny how you could have a free kick from outside the penalty box and it was only 15 yards away yet the penalty box is 18 yards. even if he was straight on at the edge of the box, minimum 18 yards

    • jbalan says:

      You’re correct. It was on the 15-yard line on the football field, the goal line was near the back of the end zone, so probably add on another 5-10 yards onto that. It was actually around 20-25 yards out. My mistake.

  3. THE TRUTH says:

    if we had played our whole team in this game the score would have been 5 0 lincolns best vs Washs beat LINCOLN WUD KILL
    LOWELL LINCOLN THE ONLY GOOD TEAMS IN THIS LEAGUE

  4. Sag Mode says:

    Hey J balan who do you think on the wash soccer team most impressed you?

    • Wash says:

      The captain Jeffrey # 20 is good. So is this winger Geo. And number 15. Other than that, the team doesn’t have much.

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