Montgomery boys need PKs again for victory

By RICHARD J. MARCUS

FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

ROHNERT PARK — In a wild and at times bizarre soccer game, Montgomery prevailed over host Rancho Cotate 1-1 (6-5 penalty kicks) on a rainy Wednesday night.

It was the Vikings’ second win on penalty kicks in a row.

The victory in the semifinal of the boys NCS Division 1 soccer playoffs sends Montgomery (14-5-2) to the championship game against Terra Linda (Marin) on Saturday. Rancho Cotate coach Eamon Kelly said the match will be held at Rancho Cotate.

“It was a crazy game between two well-matched teams,” said Montgomery assistant coach Mat Tamba, who was filling in for head Jonathan Schwan, who missed the game due to drawing a red card in the quarterfinal. “What a game for John to miss.”

Montgomery goalie Jordan Page won the game with his save of Rancho’s final penalty kick by Kevin Bobadilla to give Montgomery the 6-5 edge in PKs.

“It was a heck of a save. He (Bobadilla) went low and Jordan did as well and got his hands on it for the block,” Tamba said. “Jordan played a great game.”

For Rancho Cotate (17-2-3), the NBL champion, it was a hard-luck loss and a bitter way to exit the playoffs. The Cougars were 1-0-1 in their two NBL matches with second-place Montgomery, playing to a 1-1 draw Sept. 25 at home and a 1-0 win at Montgomery on Oct. 22.

“We just couldn’t get the final touch. We had three classic shots (in the second half) and Montgomery’s keeper made a couple of great saves,” Rancho coach Kelly said. “I knew Montgomery had an advantage in penalty shots because they won in PKs last game (2-1, 14-13 PK over Santa Rosa).”

Montgomery played a man short for the final 10 minutes of the second half of regulation and for both of the 10-minute overtimes after Evan Martinez was given a straight red card in the 70th minute for a push in the back.

Martinez will miss Saturday’s championship game, as will teammate Chris Ortiz, who received a soft red card via two yellow cards.

On the Ortiz red card, in the 54th minute, the referee somewhat lost control of the game and stopped play for 10 minutes while he and his two assistants determined whether Montgomery should play a man down due to the soft red card. Over strenuous disagreement by Kelly, the refs decided to let Montgomery play with 10 men, and then Martinez committed his foul 16 minutes later.

Rancho took a 1-0 lead in the second minute as star player Enrique Gomez blasted a 25-yard one-timer past Page for the goal.

“That was an amazing shot by Enrique,” Tamba said. “No one was going to stop that one.”

Montgomery got the equalizer in the 42nd minute off a 7-yard header by Martinez following a nice looping pass from Bryan Mora for the assist.

“Montgomery’s goal was a soft header and our goalie (Cristian Mendoza) just went the wrong way,” Kelly said. “But this was an awesome game.”

The game was stopped in the second half for 20 minutes while Montgomery’s Alejandro Escutia was taken off the field on a stretcher for precautionary reasons after a possible concussion. Escutia hit his head hard on the turf after colliding with a Rancho player on a 50-50 ball in the air.

To top off the crazy night, there was a melee by opposing fans after the game at the corner of the field that had to be broken up by Kelly and other Rancho Cotate administrators.

  • jg

    So where exactly will the game be held and what time? Your article says it will be at Rancho Cotate, yet the CIF NCS website says 2:30pm at Terra Linda (Marin).