Tough loss ends Colton’s CIF hopes

San Andreas League Champs lose 3-2 to Palm Desert in physical game, ending their successful season


Anna Garcia

Julio Soberanes fights against the Palm Desert defense during the second half of Colton’s 3-2 CIF round 1 loss.

Colton, CA—Energy was high at Memorial Stadium last night as the Yellowjacket boys soccer team played its first round CIF match against the visiting Palm Desert Aztecs. Colton, fresh off its league championship victory over Jurupa Hills, was ready to face Palm Desert, who earned their spot in the CIF playoff after defeating Yucaipa on Tuesday.

Palm Desert was ready, too, and handed Colton a first round playoff exit, defeating the Yellowjackets 3-2.

All five goals were scored in the first half, followed by a physical second half defined by several fouls, yellow cards, free kicks, and frustrations from both teams by the officiating.

Colton was led in the first half by striker Miguel Marcelo, who scored both of the team’s goals. The first came with 17 minutes on the clock, putting Colton up 1-0. Marcelo would score again late in the first half to tie the game at 2-2.

The Aztecs, who entered the game sporting matching peroxide blonde hair styles, proved to be a strong opponent. They were quick to the ball, and played an aggressive style, pulling jerseys, throwing elbows, and pushing Colton’s forwards on every possession to disrupt the offensive flow.

This aggressive play was the source of frustration on the Colton sideline, especially after moments that seemed like obvious yellow cards, such as when Yahir Rodriguez was thrown to the ground midway through the first half, received no response from officials.

By contrast, the Aztecs first goal, which came at the 8:30 mark of the first half, seemed to come on a phantom foul. After Aztec forward Kyle Alas’ shin guards clacked against Colton’s Manuel Alonso, Alas was awarded a free kick that resulted in a goal on a header by teammate Justice Granados.

The Aztecs would go up 2-1 in the first half, and it looked like that would be the score entering the second. But over the last two minutes of the first half, there was a scoring explosion. Miguel Marcelo scored his second goal with a clean shot from the left side to tie the game. Then a moment later, Aztec striker Tristan Mulahusejnovic got the ball out on a breakaway and put the Aztecs back up 3-2.

The second half was all defense and rough play. Colton opened with a couple shots on goal by Jose Perez and Julio Soberanes that couldn’t get past Aztec goalkeeper Diego Esparza. Colton goalkeeper Oscar Tapia played strong, too, getting 3 of his 6 saves and blocking several attempts by Palm Desert.

The defeat brings a premature end to Colton’s league champion season. Coach Jose Ruvalcaba told his team after the game not to hang their heads with this loss, but to reflect on the success. “This was a different tournament,” he said.

Despite the loss, the season ends on a positive note. Colton finished as league champions for the first time since 2010-2011, tops of the San Andreas League with a record of 15-7-2.