By John Philip Wyllie
At the beginning of the just completed prep soccer season Mexican-born Torrey Pines attacker Jose Abadi was not getting the playing time he desired. But it is not important how you start, only how you finish. Last Saturday, the Boston University bound senior finished his high school career with a two-goal game and sparked his team’s 5-1 CIF Division I championship victory over the fourth seeded Bonita Vista Barons.
The Barons controlled the flow of play for most of the first half and seemed like a team of destiny. Struggling to a 2-9 record at the season’s start, the Barons remarkably bounced back to put together a string of 13 consecutive games without a loss. They strode into the championship game riding high after their semifinal upset over four-time champion Granite Hills, a team that had not lost in 66 consecutive matches.
When the Barons Sean Navarro opened the scoring in the 32nd minute with a tap-in after a mad scramble in front of the Falcons goal, it appeared that the South Bay power was well on its way to its first division championship in 16 years. Enter Abadi. With little more than a minute to play in the first half he took a pass from teammate Danny Snell and headed it past Baron goalkeeper, Nick Ybarra. Instantly, the Falcons fortunes began to change. They very nearly took the lead in the half’s waning moments but a second shot on frame was cleared off the goal line by Navarro. The well-placed shot foreshadowed what was to come.
Less than three minutes into the second half the Falcons Trevor May scored the first of what would be his three consecutive second half goals blasting the ball past Ybarra from the penalty spot. Now leading for the first time in the match, the Falcons began attacking in waves and scoring almost at will.
May scorched the Baron defense with two more goals before Abadi delivered the final coup de gras late in the game. In between, Falcons goalkeeper Gamma Vasquez stifled the Barons best chance to get back into the game when he guessed correctly and dove to his left to save a penalty kick. There were several heroes this night for the Falcons. Abadi, with his timely first half goal however, was the catalyst.
“Jose is a great player,” said jubilant Torrey Pines coach, Andy Hargreaves. “It is very difficult to get a guy who can come off the bench and impact a game. He does it better than anyone I have ever seen. He did it in the semifinal and he did it again tonight. He is very flamboyant. He watches a lot of South American soccer and he has scored some great goals for us.”
Following the game Abadi talked about the marked difference in the two halves.
“We were not too into the game in the first half. We were lacking the passion that we have always had. Our coach pumped us up at half-time. We got the passion back and came out ready to win the game. This was our last game as seniors, so we had to give it all we had.”