After losing a pair of games last week, the Canyon Del Oro High School Dorados (8-5-2) don’t look like a team that’s on target for a third-straight state soccer title.
The Dorados completed the week with a 3-2 overtime loss last Thursday against the Catalina Trojans. Earlier in the week, they fell 1-0 at Palo Verde.
“It’s been a bad week,” said coach Eddie Autz, whose predecessor, Josh Marshall, went to Colorado after taking the Dorados on to win two state titles.
They never led against Catalina, but it was a very evenly played match that appeared to involve two evenly-paired teams.
The winning goal came four minutes into the first 10-minute overtime period when Catalina’s Luis Avila threw in a ball on a corner kick and fed Luis Chavira for the goal to make it 3-2. Neither team scored in the second 10-minute overtime, so the 3-2 margin held up.
It only took about five minutes for the Dorados to find themselves in a 1-0 hole when Avila assisted Chavira for the Trojans’ first goal.
“We’re lacking that spark,” Autz said.
The Dorados could not get a shot off for the first eight minutes, as they struggled mightily on offense.
It’s become evident that the Dorados, with just 27 goals in 15 games, miss Donny Toia’s offense. The 2010 CDO graduate led all Southern Arizona in scoring, was named Southern Arizona’s player of the year for 2009-2010, and scored all four goals in the team’s title game win.
“Toia was about getting the first goal,” said Autz, who served as Marshall’s assistant the last two years. Autz pointed out the team is still searching for a go-to guy offensively.
Most of the Dorados’ best offensive efforts fell into the close-but-no cigar category; they hit the goal post with shots three times, twice on headers.
They appeared primed to tie the game when senior Kyle Cornell hit a header right at the goal, but the ball hit the right goal post and bounced away.
Cornell is considered by Autz as the team’s defensive leader.
Finally, in the final few seconds of the first half, Adrian Contreras got off a strong shot. The goalie stopped the initial attack but could not hold the ball. CDO’s Connor Wharton scored it, leaving the electronic scorekeeper to wonder whether the goal counted or not. It did, making the score 1-1 at the half.
The Dorados came out of the break looking like a different team. Playing under better control, they went on the attack.
Dorados senior Dante Medina hit the left post with what would have been the go-ahead goal. Suddenly, in the 49th minute, it appeared that the whole Dorados team was caught on the offensive side of the field. Catalina’s Carl Mwampokolo got loose on a breakaway, and with no defensive vanguard to help him, CDO goalie Josh King was unable to prevent the goal.
“We overcommitted,” Autz said.
In the 62nd minute, Medina scored on an assist from Aaron Elledge for a 2-2 tie. The Trojans offense started an offensive flurry halfway through the second half, but King managed to hold them at bay and force the overtime.
Then King was called for a trip. The Trojans were awarded a penalty kick, but King blocked it. He was kicked in the face but persevered.
“Our defending as a team has been good,” Autz commented.
What does the future hold for the Dorados, who had only two losses before Jan. 1?
“The decision-making is not clicking,” Autz said. “The players’ athleticism is great.”
The Dorados hosted Marana on Jan. 11. They will play at Pueblo at 6 p.m. this Friday.