Last year neither team was able to score in regulation or extra time. As a result, the teams faced off in a penalty-kick shootout, with Santa Barbara emerging as the champion. This year’s matchup was more of the same as neither team was able to get on the board in regulation, resulting in a 0-0 tie.
"Both of these teams are very good teams. We met in the National final last year, they have won Dallas Cup twice in a row, and we have won some major tournaments and have come out of California in three of the last four years, which is very difficult," Santa Barbara SC head coach, Rudy Ybarra said. "Today with a little luck we deserved a better result, but with a little luck, they could have deserved a better result as well."
Santa Barbara put on a lot of pressure on Sunrise’s defense at the beginning, but after the opening minutes things started to level out. Sunrise’s Samuel Buzzas was in top form as the center back had a knack for interrupting any attack Santa Barbara could muster.
On the other side, team captain Timothy Heiduk and the rest of the Santa Barbara back line had their hands full with Sunrise forward, Donald Emerson. Emerson, who scored the second most goals in the 2012-2013 US Youth Soccer National League and led all scorers in the Region III Championships with seven goals, had his best chance in the 38th minute when he received a through-ball near the goal line on the right side of the box, but his shot was saved by Santa Barbara keeper, Edward Delgado.
Both Francisco Arroyo and Sahid Conteh had solid chances for Santa Barbara, but weren’t able to find the back of the net. Santa Barbara’s best opportunity came in the final minutes after a penalty awarded to Santa Barbara after Benjamin Garcia was fouled in the box. Heiduk stepped up, but his shot was saved by Daniel Ragoo.
"Daniel was the best player on our team today," Sunrise coach, Jorge Alvarez said. "Last year we lost in penalty kicks, and he has really improved. We didn’t really play our best today, but both teams had their chances."
Both teams are tied for second place in Pool A after Vardar 98 (MI) defeated GSA Phoenix (GA) 1-0. Sunrise will take on Vardar tomorrow at 8:30 A.M. on field 10, and Santa Barbara will face GSA Phoenix at the same time on field 11.