The much anticipated Sierra League boys soccer showdown between Carson and Wooster lived up to expectations and then some.
The Senators, despite giving up a goal in the first five minutes and then having to play short handed for 79 minutes because of a red card on Oscar Ventura, fought back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the match before losing 4-3 Wednesday night at the Jim Frank Track & Field Complex.
Carson dropped to 7-1 and Wooster improved to 8-0 in what could be a preview of the regional semifinals or finals next month. The Senators host Galena Saturday at 1 p.m.
“I don’t think it gives them a psychological advantage (for the next game),” Carson coach Michael Alvarez said. “They saw what we were able to do with 10 players (for most of the game).
“Being down one player, I was pretty leery about us coming back. I still had confidence because we were getting the ball in their (goal) area even with 10 players. I was disappointed by the red card. It wasn’t malicious, Oscar was just trying to make a play. I absolutely expected a yellow card. At halftime I talked to the official, and he said that Oscar’s shoe touched the other players face.”
Defender Peter Garrett wasn’t surprised his team bounced back.
“We played with heart; played hard,” he said. “We talked about things at halftime, and we showed we could come back. We showed we wanted it.”
Carson’s comeback started in the 63rd minute when Brian Llamas headed in a corner kick by Guillermo Hernandez. That got the ball rolling, and the Senators scored twice more in the next eight minutes. Carson made it 3-2 on a header by Rogelio Herrera in the 67th minute, and Abel Sanchez tied it in the 71st minute on a header as the partisan crowd went crazy.
Unfortunately, before the home crowd could settle back into their seats, Salvador Jimenez worked his way through the Carson defense and beat keeper Efren Ramirez to give the Colts a 4-3 lead. It was Jimenez’s second goal of the match.
“We didn’t relax,” Garrett said. “We just gave him too much room, and we didn’t get back (into the play) fast enough.”
“I’m proud of the way the kids came back,” Alvarez said. “I think the pressure of being the two undefeated teams playing for first place caught up to us in the first half. It took a while before we settled down.”
Carson managed just one weak shot attempt the entire first half, and it wasn’t even between the pipes. Wooster seemed to be a step faster throughout the first 40 minutes.
Jimenez gave the Colts a 1-0 lead in the 5th minute, and Steven Garcia made it 2-0 when he took advantage of a mistake by Carson keper Efren Ramirez. A Carson player played the ball back to Ramirez, who instead of clearing the ball to one side or the other, kicked it straight out. Garcia intercepted the ball, and blasted one past Ramirez to make it 2-0 in the 27th minute.
“Efren is a very smart player,” Alvarez said. “He made some poor choices tonight which is different for him. He came back in the second half and played like we expect him to play.”
Niles Brown gave Wooster a 3-0 lead when he scored in the 38th minute.
Carson showed early in the second half it was goig to be a different game.
Sanchez blasted one in the 50th minute that was turned away, and then the Senators scored on three of their next four shots to get back in the game.
Garrett said playing short-handed affected the offense more than the defense, but you wouldn’t know it by Carson’s comeback.
“We still had four guys back,” Garrett said.
“You don’t have as many up front, so you don’t have as many opportunites to score.”
• Carson’s JV squad dropped a 2-0 decision.