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Erik Montes and Marvin Parra

Montes scores three times in Richmond High School’s 3-1 win over El Cerrito in boys’ soccer

on January 16, 2013

With the Richmond High School boys’ soccer team clinging to a 2-1 lead, a strong attack by Richmond forward Eduardo Bramvila set up a corner kick for the Oilers during Tuesday’s match at El Cerrito High School.

Bramvila, a senior, was 10 yards wide to the left of the El Cerrito Gauchos’ goal, looking to make a cross to his teammates in front. His attempt was deflected out-of-bounds, off an El Cerrito defender, and junior midfielder Marvin Parra went to take the corner kick.

Drawing a corner kick is a win for the offense: It allows a team to set up players in front of their opponents’ goal, and it gives them an unabated pass from the corner of the field, where the lines marking the length and width boundaries of the field meet. If Parra were to find a teammate in front of the goal, the Oilers would have a good chance of scoring and extending their lead. But a poorly struck ball could also fuel the Gauchos’ counterattack, leading to a possible tie score.

Parra placed the ball on the ground, looked up to his fellow teammates, who were ready to run the moment his foot made contact with the ball, and swung his leg forward.

On a corner kick, jostling with defenders can make it hard for an offensive player to find the open space necessary to score. But Richmond senior Erik Montes found an opening, rose up above the El Cerrito defenders, and slammed the ball in the back of the net with his head.

Montes’ goal was his third of the game, his fourteenth goal in his last three matches, and it sealed a 3-1 win for the Oilers.

After the game, Montes complimented the work of his teammates, saying it led to his success. “I put three goals in again because of my teammates and the passes they give me,” he said. “Without them, I wouldn’t be scoring.”

Although it was a win, the Oilers’ performance had not been what they were hoping for.  For the game’s first 32 minutes, both teams played scoreless soccer, and neither had many strong scoring chances on goal. Even though the Oilers were the aggressors for the majority of the half, the Gauchos had the best chances to score. Multiple attempts off of free kicks, or long passes in front of the Oilers’ goal, resulted in balls bouncing dangerously in front of Richmond’s goalkeeper, Humberto Melendez.

The Oilers were frustrated—they began taking long shots 25 and 30 yards away from their opponents’ goal—but just when it looked like it was negatively affecting their play, the quick strike ability of the Oilers gave them the lead. Bramvila received a pass, and with the flick of his foot, he found Montes between the Gauchos’ defenders. Montes gathered the ball at his feet, 18 yards away from his opponents’ goal, and finished the shot past the El Cerrito goalkeeper.

Minutes before the end of the first half, Montes struck again; he received a long pass from a teammate, beat his defender on the left side of the field, and flicked it over the Gauchos’ goalie, who had slid to take away the low angle.

After an attempt from El Cerrito went wide, the Oilers went into the half with a 2-0 lead. But co-head coach Rene Siles was asking for more from his players. “Let’s get going here,” said Siles as he paced back and forth looking at the player standing in front of him. “You are Richmond high, one of the best teams in NCS [North Coast Section], except for that first twenty minutes.”

The second half started slow, but eleven minutes in, the Gauchos scored. With almost 30 minutes of soccer remaining, the Oilers’ lead was just one goal.

For the next 15 minutes, both teams had scoring chances that would have changed the outcome of the game. A Gaucho player, who was only yards away from the Oilers’ goal, swung at a ball and missed. On multiple occasions, Richmond senior Jorge Alvarez ran down the right side of the field, took on his defender, found some open space, and sent a pass in front to an awaiting teammate. Saves by the Gauchos’ goalkeeper, blocked shots by El Cerrito defenders, and the inability of the Oilers to finish kept the score tied at 2-1.

Then the pass from Parra on the corner kick found Montes.

The win over El Cerrito moves the Oilers’ record to 8-2-5 overall, and 5-0-2 in league play. The Oilers are also now are unbeaten in their last 12 matches.

“I know it is a win, but I don’t like it,” Siles said after the match, once again pacing back and forth while addressing his team. He asked his players to keep looking him in the eyes and not at the ground when he was speaking, so he knew they were listening.

Alvarez, who Siles praised for his performance during the team’s postgame meeting, listed what he and his teammates needed to do to have a better result. “We need to pick it up a little bit more,” he said. “Push each other, make everyone work the same, get a few more goals, and defend a little better.”

The Oilers will travel to Albany High School on Thursday for a league match at 6:00 p.m. Richmond will then travel to play De La Salle High School on Saturday for a big non-league test; the De La Salle Spartans have won four consecutive North Coast Section titles. The match is also at 6:00 p.m.

Although Montes said he was looking forward to Saturday’s meeting with De La Salle, he was not overlooking the upcoming match against Albany High School on Thursday. “Every team is not easy to play,” he said. “So we just have to go everything out, play as a team and work hard.”

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