YOU ARE HERE: IVPress HomeCollections

Calexico champion of Copa Del Valle

January 27, 2002|By MARIO RENTERÍA, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The Central and Calexico high school bands did not attend the annual Copa Del Valle soccer match, so the fans improvised.

Calexico High School maintenance crews on Monday will discover two badly beaten metal trash cans on both sides of the field. They were used as drums.

Despite Central's tough effort, Calexico is this year's Copa Del Valle champion. Calexico also won last year's cup.

The 2-0 score favoring Calexico did not reflect the game. Calexico won a game hard fought by both teams.

"It was the typical Copa Del Valle," said Central head coach Jim Graham after the game.

"They (Calexico) deserved it," he added.

Calexico head coach Pascual Gonzalez said he knew it was going to be a tough game.

"Central is a very defensive team so I knew we would have to constantly attack," he said.

"It was a tough game and it could have been won by either team," he added.


The first half ended scoreless but both teams had several opportunities to get on the scoreboard.

The first half was fought hard by both teams that defended well. Calexico was intent on using one-touch passing to penetrate the defense while Central patiently awaited for the counter-attack to a couple of fast forwards.

Calexico and Central fans also battled it out cheering for their teams while at the same time verbally fighting with each. Calexico's fans clearly outnumbered Central's, but Spartan fans cheered just as loudly.

In the second half Calexico opened the score board about 10 minutes into the game, starting from a corner kick.

The Calexico player in charge of the corner kick passed it to a teammate outside the box, who in turn, centered the ball to Andres Fuentes who was waiting behind the Spartan defense. The defense made the mistake of leaving Fuentes unmarked. Fuentes, unchallenged, headed the ball past the Spartan goalkeeper.

That goal changed the momentum of the game. Central started attacking and coming upfield more while Calexico kept attacking.

Central then scored a goal that was not validated by the referee.

Graham and the Spartan fans didn't seem to like the referee's call.

The game turned into a series of fouls made by both teams.

About 15 minutes after Calexico's first goal it scored its second. Daniel Coronado caught a loose ball inside the box and rocketed it past Central's goalkeeper. The loose ball resulted from a counter-attack that left two Calexico players against two Central defenders. The two defenders could not clear the ball after one of the Calexico players lost the ball in the box. Coronado simply capitalized on Central's mistake.

In the last minutes of the game, Central fought heroically to score while Calexico struggled to maintain its two-goal lead.

In those last five minutes Calexico fans started singing "Cielito Lindo," a traditional Mexican tune sung during Mexico's matches by Mexico fans who attended the 1998 World Cup in France.

Pascual said, "We received a lot of support from the crowd and it's nice that soccer fans are starting to come out. The sport is growing and so are the fans. It's great."

Graham said, "We played better than our first game against Calexico."

Calexico won the first match 1-0.

"We have nothing to be ashamed of. We played a tough game and I'm proud of my team," Graham added.

Calexico's next match will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday against Palo Verde in Calexico. Central will travel to Blythe on Friday to face Palo Verde at 6:30 p.m.

>> Staff Writer Mario Renteria can be reached at 337-3441.

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles