SANTA FE SPRINGS — The race for the Del Rio League boys soccer championship is fit to be tied.
Juan Rodriguez Bugarin scored from inside the goal area in the 58th minute and host Santa Fe High School took a 1-0 victory over El Rancho on Wednesday to pull even in the league standings with the Dons.
Christian Guerrero had the assist and Maquech Lizarraga had five saves for the Chiefs (12-3-1, 5-1). Carlos Mendez had five saves for El Rancho (14-2-2, 5-1).
El Rancho, ranked No. 1 in the area, won the first meeting 4-1 on Jan. 10. The Chiefs are No. 2 in the area.
Santa Fe, which outshot El Rancho 13-11, got its chance for the lead following a foul just outside the penalty area with 22 minutes left to play. The direct kick glanced off El Rancho’s Andrew Martinez in the penalty area before deflecting off Guerrero to Bugarin, who put a shot to the left of Mendez for the 1-0 lead.
Santa Fe’s Juan Rodriguez Bugarin: It feels really great (to get the win). We were really mad (after the loss to El Rancho). We wanted to come back hard, especially since this is our home. We felt bad after the first game and wanted to come back to show them what we are all about. All I was doing was supporting my team. I had to do what I had to do. The ball landed right there. I got lucky, took the shot and scored.”
Santa Fe coach Erik Mallory: “The kids were just prepared to play hard. El Rancho is a very good team, so we knew we had to come out and work real hard. The boys really showed heart today.”
El Rancho coach Gerry Goyenaga: The field, without a doubt was a factor. If you look at our score lines, it makes a big difference (playing on a muddy field compared to field turf). But credit Santa Fe. It’s home-field advantage and they took care of business on their field.”
— Stephen Ramirez