Tuesday, September 10, 2002
ODELL — Real Madrid of White Salmon defeated Azteca of The Dalles on penalty kicks Sunday to win the Columbia Gorge Soccer League championship before approximately 400 spectators at Wy’east Middle School.
After a physical yet sloppy 90 minutes of regulation — which ended 1-1 after goals by Miguel Angel Perez (R.M., 50th minute) and Luis Gamez (Azteca, 55th minute) — Real Madrid goalkeeper Saul Reynoso made two key saves in the penalty-kick round to preserve the win.
Neither team dominated play in either half, as both teams’ defenses managed to thwart numerous free kicks and breakaways.
Perez, one of the league’s leading scorers during the regular season, was the catalyst for Real Madrid, and may have netted another goal late in the second half if Azteca’s opportunistic defense hadn’t stepped in time after time.
Gamez was equally dominant on the attack for Azteca, using his speed and superlative ball skills to frustrate the Real Madrid defense. However, Reynoso proved to be the difference, both in the waning minutes of regulation and in the penalty kick round.
Real Madrid made all four of its penalties, while Azteca scored on just one of three attempts.
Also taking place Sunday at Wy’east was the third-place game between regular-season champ Guerrero and fifth-place finisher Spartak.
Guerrero, which lost 5-4 to Real Madrid in the semifinals, rediscovered the offense that helped it win 16 of 18 league games, and took home the third-place trophy by a count of 4-2.
Spartak reached the semifinals by beating 2001 champ Abasolo in the round of eight.
Sahuayo Jr., a team made up of mostly Hood River Valley High School players, finished the season in fourth place, but begged out of the playoffs due to the impending start of the high-school season.