San Luis one win from title game
If words could describe San Luis' playing style, adjectives like big and tall wouldn't be near the top of the list.
Instead, their technical prowess pushed them past Corona del Sol and on to the semifinals to play No. 3 Desert Vista at 5 p.m. today at Campo Verde High School.
Although they spend a lot of time perfecting their ball skills in practice, most of the groundwork is laid long before the players arrive on the San Luis campus.
“Without a doubt, it is a talent thing,” said San Luis coach Ian McDougall. “You have to have kids that have been brought up with the ball on their foot. Luckily, we're in a community where these kids don't play basketball or football, this is what they do. So they've been doing it for 12, 14 years before they get here. I feel like a lot of these kids were born with a soccer ball. You can't teach it; it's just like walking for these guys, they just know.”
Like with most Phoenix teams, there's little information on Desert Vista at McDougall's fingertips, but he does know they're big, physical and incredibly aggressive.
“As the more technical team we're going to be more skilled on the ball, and maybe we can use that against them,” McDougall said. “As teams are pressing up the field that means they have less guys defending, and if we can take advantage of that, I think we'll be just fine. If they want to press us up high, it's going to come down to a battle of technique, and if my guys are good enough to get out of it, we should be able to steal some goals from them. If my guys can't adjust to the pressure, then we're going to be in for a long evening.”
One of the most technically gifted Sidewinders has been senior midfielder Raul Ordorica, who is leading the team with 16 assists.
“Raul has a phenomenal ability to turn and dribble at defenders,” McDougall said. “He's a diminutive little guy, so you don't really think of him very much, but he's quick. He turns very quickly and he will dribble right at you and that baits you into making mistakes. He's quick with the ball at his feet so he'll dribble right at you, and as soon as you make the mistake he's gone, he's right past you.
“What makes him so dangerous in the midfield is he's not looking to score most of the time. He's looking to get you to commit to him on defense and as soon as you do that, he's going to play to right where you were and our guys are going to run there and score.”
San Luis' leading goal scorer Leo Moreno has benefitted the most from Ordorica's passing game.
“It was not my goal to get the most assists,” Ordorica said. “(Moreno's) just my great finisher; he's a very good scorer. He had some great opportunities and he makes me look good, and he also looks good.”
Corona del Sol's size didn't seem to be a factor in the quarterfinals and McDougall doesn't foresee it being a problem against Desert Vista.
“They were taller than us on every position on the field,” McDougall said. “I don't think they expected Alejandro Luzanilla, who's 5-foot-3, to be challenging in the midfield every ball in the air. I don't think they expected Raul Ordorica, who's probably 5-foot-4, to be winning every ball on the ground. I just don't think they expected our commitment to winning that ball back.”