Any given Sunday?
Any given Sunday?
How about any given Monday.
The U19 Diablos boys soccer team certainly picked the right day to win.
The Corning, Calif., squad saved its best for last in the Rogue Valley Cup championship, powering past the Medford United Football Club Pumas 3-1 at U.S. Cellular Community Park.
Prognosticators may have had trouble calling this one. On Saturday, the Diablos lost to the Rogue Valley Soccer Club Fuego 3-1, but the Pumas defeated the Fuego 2-0 on Sunday.
Pumas defender Junior Esqueda simply had to shrug his shoulders and smile when asked if there was any rhyme or reason to it all.
"I don't know," the Phoenix standout said. "I guess maybe (the Diablos) were off, or maybe Fuego just played really well. Who knows."
This much is certain: From the onset, neither team was willing to give up an inch in the physical and emotional title tilt.
But ultimately, the one-two punch of Corning's Eduardo Diaz and Salvador Gonzales proved strongest, with Diaz netting two goals — including the go-ahead score in the second half — and Gonazales recording a goal and an assist. With those two leading the charge, the Diablos' diagonal-run attack wore down the MUFC squad.
"They just kept their momentum and we had some mistakes in the back," said Pumas Greg Alegria, a South Medford junior. "They capitalized."
Gonzales did just that to earn the first goal of the match. He spun in a shot after his teammates drew out the Puma defense and hollowed out an opening around the 17th minute.
Still, the MUFC team's defense was by and large sound, with Esqueda manning the fort. The Skyline Conference player of the year stole shots, revoked runs and denied several determined offensive efforts by Corning.
On offense, Jovany Sanchez came up with the equalizer in splendid fashion about 13 minutes after Gonzales' goal. The District 3 first-team pick at Illinois Valley banked in a drastically horizontal shot from about four yards out. The ball ricocheted off the far post and into the net, driving the crowd wild.
"I was gonna cut it across, but I didn't see anyone so I shot it," he said. "Luckily it hit the top corner."
Corning took the lead in the second half on Diaz's first goal. Gonzales preoccupied the defense in the corner of the field before slicing a pass to his cutting teammate. During his team's ensuing counter attack, Diaz scored once more on a breakaway to put the Diablos ahead 3-1.
"We started getting tired and they started controlling the ball more," Sanchez said.
The Cup victory by Corning is just one of its recent accolades. The team also secured the California Youth Soccer Association Cup Tournament title earlier this spring.
"We have a lot of players that are pretty good," Diablos head coach Cipriano Garcia said of his cast of standouts from Corning, Orland and Willows.
Near the end of the battle, Puma's Robin Klimczak (a Hidden Valley standout) had solid shot attempts with his head and foot that were denied.
Any given Monday.
In the U19 girls championship, the undefeated Southern Oregon Scrubs edged the previously unbeaten Rogue Valley Soccer Club Rogue Wave 3-2 after eking out a 12-shot penalty shootout.
Two additional penalty kicks were needed with the shootout still tied after 10 attempts. The Scrubs made their shot and the Rogue Wave missed, ending the dramatic thriller.
Riley Smith, the former Ashland star who now plays at the University of Oregon, netted a goal to even the contest at 2 with about two minutes left in double overtime.
Earlier, Krystina Tucker's goal gave the Rogue Wave a 1-0 advantage around the 60th minute with a boot from the half line. Smith netted the equalizer with about 10 minutes left in regulation.
In the first overtime period, Rogue Wave's Carly Smith scored on a cross from Makayla Hickman, giving the RVSC squad a 2-1 lead.
"Our girls played incredible team play and had most of the possessions, but we did not shut down Riley and that is what we needed to do to ensure a win," said Rogue Wave coach Ted Darnall, whose team had not allowed a goal in the Cup before Monday's final. "But everybody dug really deep and played really hard."
U10 — United 3, Humboldt United 0
U11 — Tsunami 2, Mru Impact 1
U12 — Juventus 2, Fuego 0
U13 — Boys 99 2, United 1
U14 GOLD — Mad River 2, Elite Espaņa 1
U14 SILVER — Cosmos 2, Veloce 1
U15 — Flames 2, Radon 0
U16 — Almaden Real 95 2, Manchester United 1
U19 — Diablos 3, Pumas 1
U10 — Thunder 4, Pumas 2
U11 — Academy Blue 2, Arsenal 0
U12 — Manchester United 3, Rvsc United 0
U13 — Nitro 4, Hsc Rovers 2
U14 GOLD — Adrenaline 5, MutIny 1
U14 SILVER — Jaguars 98 2, Ashland United 1
U19 — Fuego 1, Barcelona 0
U10 — '02 Girls 2, '03 Girls 0
U11 GOLD — Crush Blue 1, G00 White 0
U11 SILVER — Renegades 1, Carson Valley United 0
U12 — Velocity 3, Valkyrie 2
U13 — Impact 6, MiSsfit Fusion 0
U14 GOLD — Ice 4, Fc Samoa Intensity 2
U14 SILVER — Supernova 98 3, Lady Jaguars 98 0
U15 — Tornados 3, Chaos 0
U17 — Redding Missfit Bandits 5, Power Strikers 0
U19 — So. Or. Scrubs 4, Rogue Wave 3
U10 — Eclipse White 3, Eclipse Blue 2
U11 GOLD — Intensity 1, G00 Blue 0
U11 SILVER — Fc Samoa 01 3, PatrIots00 0
U12 — Strikerz 1, Freedom 0
U13 — Force 2, Alliance 0
U15 — Storm 4, Venom 2
U17 — Reign United 7, Incline Tahoe Ice 0
U19 — Chaos 1, Humboldt United 0
Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email email@example.com. For video coverage of the Rogue Valley Cup, visit facebook.com/mtsportschat.