Ninety minutes was not enough time to determine a winner in Thursday’s Section 2A boys’ soccer championship game at Dakota Meadows.
Fifty-eight seconds into the second overtime period one was finally crowned as Cristian Castro’s "golden goal" propelled undefeated Waseca to a 2-1 victory over Mankato West to advance to the state tournament. “It’s always fun to play in the section championship game; there’s always a lot on the line,” West junior Matthew Ouren said. “It’s fun to see what comes out of everyone and the emotions that are in a great soccer game like this.” The emotions were high right from the start. A little more than a minute into the game, Waseca’s Cesar Gallegos, got loose and slid a shot under West goalkeeper Sam Farley. But Scarlets defender Kier Oxnard dived and kicked the ball away less than a foot from crossing the goal line. Three and a half minutes later, West was able to capitalize on their opportunity. Dillon Lambert fed Ouren who was alone in front of Waseca’s keeper Josh Metzdorff and laced a left-footer into the center of the net for a 1-0 Scarlets lead. A little over two minutes later, it was nearly 2-0 nothing. Jacob Makela rifled a shot that ricocheted off the crossbar. Makela had another great scoring opportunity shortly thereafter that was saved nicely by Metzdorff. “West definitely had the better of the possession and completed far more passes than we did,” Waseca coach Terry Nafe said. “We were lucky to hang on there and come out of that first half only down 1-0.” The Scarlets opened up the second half with a flurry that included another shot that hit off the post. Eventually all of those missed chances would come back to haunt them. Gallegos chipped one in over Farley from 20 yards out to even the score at 1 with 29 minutes left in regulation. “We almost couldn’t buy a goal tonight. Off the post, just wide, bounced off the keeper. Opportunity after opportunity was there early and often,” West coach Leonard Woelfel said. “The longer you let a team hang around in there, it’s going to come back to get you.” The game remained tied through regulation and through the first 10-minute overtime session. Castro found himself free early in the second overtime and slid a right-footed shot past Farley for the game-winner. “Honestly, West did outplay us for three-fourths of the game,” Gallegos said. “Honestly, I think the better team today lost, but we just played our hearts out.” The way this season has played out for Waseca has surprised their coach. “I have to admit in my wildest dreams I wouldn’t have thought that we would have gotten to this point undefeated and section champions,” said Nafe. “We have a good group of kids, they’ve been working hard; no doubt they deserve this.”