SEASIDE — The 2017 Seaside boys soccer team spent most of the season ranked in the top three at the 4A level, and opened the state playoffs as the No. 1-ranked team in the state.
But the No. 1 seed didn’t help Seaside Saturday night at Broadway Field, where Newport’s Romario Mendoza scored with just 41 seconds remaining in regulation, giving the Cubs a 2-1 win over the Gulls in the state quarterfinal contest.
Even more impressive for Newport — the Cubs played the final 18 minutes with just 10 players.
The loss snapped a 10-game win streak for the Gulls, who had given up just two goals since Sept. 26.
“I’m disappointed, yes, but what a tremendous year we’ve had,” said Seaside coach John Chapman. “We win league, we had nine shutouts this year. We played and competed against 5A teams, beating Hillsboro (4-1) and played to a 0-0 tie with Corvallis until the last minute of an overtime game.
“So the boys played well. Soccer’s a funny old game. You just don’t know how the ball’s going to bounce, and tonight it bounced with the weather for Newport. Best of luck to them.”
The Cubs had the wind and rain at their back in the second half, but Seaside had the weather in the first half, and led 1-0 at halftime.
After 39 scoreless minutes, Seaside’s Irving Contreras hammered a shot past Newport goalkeeper Luis Reyes from 20 yards out, with just 49 seconds left in the first half.
Newport senior Ricardo Gonzalez-Vazquez scored the equalizer in the 50th minute (29:34 remaining in the second half), after Seaside keeper James Petie was issued a yellow card, resulting in a close-range free kick for the Cubs.
And Gonzalez-Vazquez converted to tie the game.
The next major play was a yellow card assessed to Newport’s Julian Elizalde with 17:42 remaining.
It was the second yellow card issued to Elizalde, who argued the point with an official and was given a red card, forcing Newport to play the rest of the match with just 10 players.
But the Cubs’ 11th man was the wind, and the two teams battled evenly for most of the second half.
With under a minute remaining, Newport worked the ball into the left corner, centered a pass for Mendoza, who drilled a shot past a diving Petie with just 41 seconds left.
“We knew that if we got to see Newport, it was going to be tooth and nail,” Chapman said of the defending 4A state champions. “The weather, obviously, came on in the second half, which was a bit of an advantage for Newport.
“We defended well, we were scrappy, and that last free kick by Newport — if you look back — that’s when they score. They often find that lucky one in the net, near the end of the game.”
The Gulls finish 13-2-1, one of the best seasons in school history. The 13 wins surpassed the 11 victories Seaside had in 2000, ‘03, ‘09 and ‘15.
“Our boys should be very proud of a very successful season,” Chapman said. “We’re losing three guys from the field (seniors Colton Carter, Henry Chapman and Rafi Sibony), so we have a lot of young guys coming back. I can’t see anything but another successful year for Seaside.”