With Baldwin Park’s Andy Castillo nearby, San Diego Southwest players Jerry Mendoza (left to right), Bernardo Leyva, Rafael Espinoza and Gabriel Alamillo celebrate a goal by Leyva in the second half.
Grazing the head of a Baldwin Park defender, the ball inadvertently ricocheted off the keeper’s hands, rocketing into the crossbar above.
The ball plummeted to the ground. A San Diego Southwest attacker misfired at the open net, heading the ball upward into the crossbar again, only to have it snatched by the keeper as the ball tumbled down.
Scoring chance squandered.
It mattered not, however. Southwest would penetrate Baldwin Park’s defense again. Several more times, dissecting the Braves’ back line and freezing the keeper three times en route to a three-goal halftime cushion Tuesday at San Ysidro High.
The romp continued after the break.
Adding a final goal in the second half, Southwest rolled Baldwin Park 4-1 in the Southern California Regional Division II quarterfinals.
“The game plan was to pressure them, like we do every team,” said Southwest coach Giovanni Medina. “When we pressure, it forces defenses into mistakes, and when they make mistakes, that’s when we capitalize and get through.”
The No. 4 Raiders (20-2-4) advance to the semifinals Thursday, playing on the road against No. 1 Los Angeles Cathedral.
“We had never heard of them or even seen film of them,” said senior midfielder Rafael Espinoza, who scored a brace against No. 5 Baldwin Park (21-5-1).
“The only thing we were able to find out was that they had a forward who scored 39 goals on the season, so we made some adjustments to our formation that would allow us to limit his ability. Instead of playing with four midfielders like we normally do, we added an extra guy there to hold him from getting behind us.”
The tactic worked, keeping Baldwin Park relatively quiet with the exception of a penalty goal scored by Danny Vega in the 61st minute.
Senior midfielders Jerry Mendoza and Bernardo Leyva scored one goal apiece for Southwest.
Division I: With the match tied 1-1 after regulation and OT, visiting Carlsbad prevailed 4-3 in penalty kicks to upset No. 3 San Clemente.
Division II: Coronado was defeated by host Canoga Park 2-0.