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Grizzlies succumb in regular season finale, 2-0

KENNEWICK - The Sunnyside High School soccer team ended its regular season schedule last night with a 2-0 loss to the Kennewick Lions.

Despite numerous scoring opportunities the Grizzlies couldn't convert on any of them. Luck seemed to be on the Lions' side as Kennewick's keeper and players stopped each attack.

The Lions scored early, in the ninth minute of play when Marcos Borja took advantage of a momentary bout of confusion on the Sunnyside team.

After a Kennewick throw-in the Sunnyside keeper and sweeper each thought the other was going to leave the goal to defend the shot. By the time they realized their mistake, Borja had already advanced. When both the Sunnyside keeper and sweeper collided, Borja kicked the ball quickly before they could recover.

Sunnyside had good chances after Kennewick's goal to get an equalizer. Alfredo Gomez had a header attempt blocked by the Lions' keeper. Omar Vergara wowed the crowd with a hard hit bicycle kick that was blocked by a Kennewick defender at the last second on the goal line. Marcelo Madera also had a good shot attempt blocked by the keeper.

The Grizzlies entered halftime down 1-0 and made some adjustments. Sunnyside Coach Juan Pineda put three forwards up, which included Javier Contreras.

"He created four good chances for us," Pineda said of moving Contreras to the forward position.

Unfortunately, the Lions' luck held out and each goal attempted by the Grizzlies missed its mark.

Sunnyside had nine shots on goal during the match. Two of those shots bounced off the post. The Kennewick keeper made another two outstanding saves, and the rest were either stopped by a Lions defender or the keeper.

Kennewick had 12 shots on goal. The Lions' final goal came in the 70th minute of play when Alexis Vega headed the ball past Sunnyside's Eddie Garcia.

Pineda said his team got frustrated in the last 20 minutes of the match and didn't finish strong.

"We had a lot of great chances," he said. "But the kids weren't able to score. Ninety percent of the time we were playing good but one error can cost the game."

Garcia finished the match with five saves. The Kennewick keeper recorded six.

Pineda pointed out the play of Humberto Bermudez in the backfield and Hector Dominguez at midfield, saying both are doing an outstanding job at their positions.

Sunnyside (6-8, 7-8-1) will travel to East Wenatchee tomorrow (Thursday) to play the Eastmont Wildcats at 4 p.m. in the first round of the District playoffs.

Sunnyside split with the Wildcats this season, beating them at home 1-0, but losing to Eastmont on the road 7-1.

"I'm confident we'll have a good match," Pineda said. "Whoever makes fewer mistakes will come out ahead."

Thursday's match is a loser-out contest.

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