Sunset’s boys’ soccer team is hoping the county championship is not a bad omen.
Eddy Pineiro scored in double overtime Thursday night to lead Sunset to a 3-2 victory over Varela in chilly and windy conditions at Milander Park, giving the Knights their first GMAC title since 2005.
The Knights (16-1-4) will now start the state playoffs Wednesday in a district semifinal against South Dade.
Ironically, it was the South Dade girls’ soccer team that lived Sunset’s worst fears, winning the GMAC title and then getting upset in the district semifinals just a couple days later.
“I saw what happened to South Dade, and I want to make a very big point to our guys,” Sunset coach Kevin Myers said.
“Last year, we had a very successful [regular] season and then got bounced in the first game of the playoffs by Coral Reef. That was heartbreaking for our kids. Almost all of them are back from last year, so hopefully they’ve learned a lesson.”
As for Thursday’s win, Myers said Pineiro missed “four or five” opportunities to score before finally coming through in the game’s 96th minute.
Had the game gone four minutes longer, it would have been decided by penalty kicks. But this time, Pineiro would not be denied.
He was positioned within six yards of the goal, with his back to keeper Juan Grimaldo. Sunset’s Jonathan Diaz lobbed a pass in to Pineiro, who controlled it off his chest, spun and kicked in the game-winner, hurting a finger on his left hand in the process.
“For sure I broke it,” Pineiro said of his finger, which got tangled with Grimaldo on the winning play.
Sunset’s win spoiled a strong performance by speedy Varela (11-5-2), which could play the Knights for a district title if it beats Coral Reef on Wednesday.
Varela was led by Sebastian Herran, who scored two goals as the teams battled to a 2-2 tie at halftime.
Sunset led 1-0 on a goal by Juan Marquez — Pineiro got the assist — and 2-1 on a marker by Jonathan Ochoa. But Varela battled back each time.
But with the wind at their backs, the Knights dominated the second half and had the wind in their favor again in the second overtime.
“If we play exactly like we did in the second half,” Pineiro said, “we’ll be state champions.”