Sepeda leads Corona past Arsenal in Adult Soccer League final
By Charles Whisnand
Appeal Sports Editor
While it wasn’t life or death by any means and the atmosphere was about as relaxed as can be for the large contingent of people who filled Mills Park on Sunday afternoon, the championship soccer game of the Carson City Recreation Division’s Men’s Adult League was nonetheless important stuff.
Arsenal and Corona met for the second straight year for the title and for the second straight year, Corona won and was able to defend its crown. Lupe Sepeda scored both goals for Corona, including one in the final moments of the game to give Corona the 2-1 win.
Virtually all of those who participated in Sunday’s game either as players or spectators were from the Hispanic community and what the league means to many in the Hispanic community was easy to see on Sunday.
The only “gringo” on the field on Sunday was David Brown, who played at South Tahoe High School. He was a midfielder for Corona.
“Pretty much I am the only white guy,” said Brown, who added he’s actually half Mexican.
But since he’s gotten to know many of those who play for Corona through the soccer community and he was asked to come out and play, it was a natural fit for Brown.
“I know half of them anyway,” Brown said.
The league is for players who are 16 and older and Arsenal featured two players who have been two of the most prominent players in area high school soccer this season in Carson High’s Brian Duran and Douglas High’s Edgar Arceo.
As they have been for their high school teams, Duran was a defender and Arceo was a forward for Arsenal.
“It’s a little rougher (and) a little faster,” said Duran comparing the adult league with high school. “This is harder when we play with these guys and then it’s a little easier with the (high school) kids.”
And Duran didn’t take Sunday’s loss lightly.
“It’s kind of difficult,” Duran said. “We played hard all season and then to have it end up like this. It’s definitely going to motivate me to go as hard as I can with the high school so I don’t end up with another disappointment.”
Duran asked Arceo to play with him on Arsenal.
“I wanted to play with him,” Arceo said. “I played with him in spring, too.”
Arceo said the adult league is more difficult than high school.
“It’s more aggressive,” he said. “They’re bigger guys.”
He said because he faces bigger players in the adult league, Arceo believes that helps him in his effort to move around defenders in high school games.
Arceo admitted that helping Douglas to finish as last year’s NIAA Class 4A State Championship runner-up was more emotional.
“High school they are like my brothers,” he said.
But he did say Sunday’s game was important.
“This was a big game,” he said.
Corona featured several players from South Tahoe’s 2005 state championship team, including Eddie Ruelas, who was a goalkeeper for that squad. Ruelas was also Corona’s goalie on Sunday.
Ruelas admitted that he shouldn’t have allowed Arsenal’s goal in the first half when he let a shot by Martin Hernandez slip under his hands into the net. But Ruelas had an otherwise solid game, making several saves for Corona.
When Hernandez scored, it forced a 1-1 halftime lead after Sepeda scored earlier in the half to give Corona a 1-0 lead. Early in the second half one of Corona’s players was given a red card, forcing Corona to play most of the second half a man down.
But Corona was able to stay on even terms with Arsenal until in the waning moments of regulation Sepeda was able to drill a shot from the right side into the upper corner of the net to give Corona the win.