Hart boys soccer falls to Dos Pueblos in first-round playoff matchup

Hart's Timothy Kim (2) takes a pass near the goal against Dos Pueblos defenders Mark Sotelo (5) and Nathan Kang (17) at Hart on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

The Hart boys soccer team hosted Dos Pueblos in the opening round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs on Thursday afternoon in a high-scoring affair.

The Indians were down early, trailing 2-0 at halftime and could not recover, falling 4-2 to the Chargers.

Dos Pueblos’ first goal in the third minute was unusual, as the linesman raised his flag signaling a foul on Dos Pueblos. The Indians stopped because they saw the flag and thought they were receiving a free kick. The Chargers player kept possession and then fired a shot while everyone else had stopped.

The center referee waved off the linesman and counted the goal.

“The first goal is the referee’s fault, he’s waving his flag so everybody stops. Our guys stop and their kid keeps dribbling,” Hart head coach Adonay Jovel said. “Our guys shouldn’t have stopped until they heard the whistle, but they stopped because he’s calling a foul. Then the guy scores and the ref says he didn’t call anything. I didn’t understand it. It was costly, bottom line.”

Near the end of the first half, Hart had a chance on a free kick outside of the box, but the shot was deflected and Dos Pueblos quickly counter-attacked. They were able to score in the 38th minute to bring the score to 2-0.

Hart’s Cameron Castaneda (9) takes a pass at midfield against Dos Pueblos defender Mark Sotelo at Hart on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

The Indians came out more aggressive in the second half and were able to control possession and apply pressure better than they had in the first 40 minutes.

In the 52nd minute, senior Juan Guzman crossed the ball off a corner kick and it was deflected right back to his feet. Guzman collected himself and sent the ball back into the box, finding junior Nick Woll near the far post.

Woll got ahead of a Dos Pueblos defender and timed his header perfectly, sending the ball into the back left corner of the net.

“At halftime more than anything, I told them pressure a little higher. Try to win the ball a little higher on the field,” Jovel said. “I felt in the second half they did a better job, they responded, but we still gave away silly goals. When we play tougher teams, we kind of give silly goals away, that’s the story for us.”

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Less than two minutes after Woll’s goal, Dos Pueblos scored to bring the score to 3-1, and then once again in the 65th minute, making it 4-1.

The Indians had one more goal in them, as junior midfielder Joseph Ochoa rifled a shot from 30 yards out right past Dos Pueblos’ goalkeeper in the 67th minute. Seven minutes earlier, Ochoa fired a similar shot that went just over the crossbar.

Hart’s Darwin Herrera (6) heads a shot near the goal against Dos Pueblos defender Mori Chiba (30) in the second half at Hart on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

In the end, Jovel believes experience was a big factor, as Dos Pueblos is a senior-laden team. He also thinks had his team played the first half like they did the second, the game could have turned out differently.

“I think more than anything we needed to have a little more character to play this game. We showed it a little more in the second half but we needed that character from the beginning,” he said. “They have a little more experience than we do and that played a big part.”

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