Story and photos by Jacob Bigley
Monrovia Wildcats had numerous opportunities to capitalize on prime field position and beautiful crosses. In the 64th minute, the Wildcats finally found the back of the net, however, not in a traditional sequence of plays.
With under 15 minutes remaining, the Gabrielino Eagles received a free kick just outside of their own goalies box. In an attempt to catch the Monrovia defense off-guard, a Gabrielino defender tried to hurry up the kick. In doing so, Monrovia forward David Johnson (#10) was walking with his back towards the ball only a couple feet away. The ball struck Johnson on his back heel and deflected towards the left sideline, headed for out of bounds. Monrovia Wildcat’s speedster, Chus Estrada (#11), had other plans and reached the ball before going out of bounds. He sprinted down the left line with the ball at his feet, stopped on a dime and delivered a right footed cross heading just in front of the center of the net.
While Estrada was in action, Johnson began to head down the center of the field and was in perfect position to header it into the net giving the Wildcats a 1-0 lead with 14 minutes remaining in the match.
I caught up with Johnson after the game to get his perspective on the play, he responded with a smirk on his face and the following: “It started off with the free and I just stood there and it hit my heel, went to my player and he crossed it in and I finished the goal.”
Johnson also had this to say about the many opportunities the Wildcats had but couldn’t capitalize on, “We should have scored a lot earlier, had a lot a chances, weren’t playing well the first half but we got it done.”
The Wildcat’s capped off their victory with another goal by Jonathan “Johnny” Goettling (#9) in the 73rd minute with a left footed strike from the center of the box and handing the Wildcats the victory over Gabrielino 2-0.
The Wildcats improve to 2-2-2 and have the Monrovia Winter Classic which runs Dec. 9-12. Good Luck Cats!