Okay Soccer Fans,
We’ve got a boys championship game. Here’s my breakdown and the pick. I hope to see a large crowd out there tomorrow.
Division III Championships
No. 3 La Habra (25-4-1) vs. No. 1 Saddleback (25-2-1)
at Downey High School, 2 p.m.
Initial Thoughts: This is a great offensive matchup between two teams that score about three goals a game. The postseason run has been challenging for both teams as La Habra has won three one-goal games while Saddleback has clinched two.
Why La Habra will win -
Don’t let the one-goal differential fool you, the Highlanders have been clearly in charge in three of their four playoff wins. They were up 3-0 over Nogales before the Nobles scored two cheap goals. The Highlanders also blasted Santa Ana Valley 4-1 in the quarterfinals and had solid control of a 2-1 win over El Rancho. Against Santa Maria in the second round, La Habra showed grit in coming back on the road for a 3-2 victory.
Why Saddleback will win -
The Roadrunners are 1 of 3 top seeds to advance to finals, showing that they can deal with the pressure. While the talk of offense is prevalent, this is a Saddleback defense that has posted 10 shutouts in its last 12 games and has not given up more than two goals in over a month.
La Habra X-Factor:
Defense. Pure and simple. If the Highlanders can hold Saddleback to two or fewer goals, they increase their chances at a win big time.
Cashing in opportunities. I guess this could apply for La Habra as well. However, Saddleback had quite a few solid looks against Santa Ynez and Fullerton, but only came away with 1-0 wins, albeit, against great defenses.
The pick: I’m rooting for La Habra but I’m going with Saddleback 3-2.