By Shel Segal
MONTEBELLO – The Schurr High boys’ soccer team matched visiting Montebello High shot-for-shot on Jan. 14.
Until the final minute of the game.
After 79 hard-fought, even minutes of play, Montebello’s Juan Rodriguez took the ball off a Johvanny Mata free kick and put into the left-hand side of the Schurr net to give the Oilers a 1-0 win in an Almont League match.
Montebello coach Jesus Garcia said it was a spirited match.
“They’re our rival,” he said of Schurr. “They’re a tough team. They always are.”
Schurr coach Tomas Haynes said his team had opportunities, but just couldn’t find a way to put the ball into the net.
“It was a good game,” said Haynes, whose Spartans fell to 5-5-3 overall and 1-1 in Almont League play. “We had some good looks to finishing, but couldn’t score.”
Haynes said Montebello – which improved to 4-7-3 and 1-1 – had a very strong defensive performance.
“Defensively, they had good size,” Haynes said of the Oilers. “We had about six good opportunities to put the ball in the net and didn’t.”
In addition, Schurr played much of the game without forward Daniel Llanos, who received a red card for allegedly insulting the referees in Spanish. Haynes said playing without Llanos was a big challenge for the team.
“When you’re short a player they just keep pounding and pounding,” Haynes said. “If you have no guy in the middle, you’re short a guy. It’s like a power play in hockey.”
Haynes added the team is just not as potent with Llanos out of the lineup.
“He’s just dangerous with the ball,” Haynes said of Llanos. “He can take two defensive players and open up the play for other players.”
Overall, it was a very defensive battle, with Schurr outshooting Montebello, 4-3. However, the Spartans were limited without Llanos to just one shot in the second half.
(Shel Segal can be reached at