Edison didn’t allow injuries to key players or controversial goals to keep it from becoming a champion Friday night at Tropical Park.
Moments after watching Miami Beach tie the score in the final minute of regulation, the Red Raiders persevered when senior striker Wold Damintas scored in the sixth minute of overtime to deliver a 3-2 victory and the school’s first GMAC boys’ soccer title.
“When everything happened before overtime, I just told my teammates to keep playing,” said Damintas, who leads Edison in scoring this season with 31 goals. “We couldn’t stop.”
Damintas’ winner was his second of the match and spared Edison (17-1) the potential pain of having its elusive title ripped away in the final 10 minutes of regulation.
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Trailing 2-0, junior Leonardo Acosta put Miami Beach (18-1-1) on the board with a goal in the 70th minute.
Nine minutes later, senior Tomas Iglesias took a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box and sent it toward the far post. The ball bounced on the inside part of the post and out of the goal. The referee ruled that the ball crossed the goal line to tie the score.
To make matters worse, Edison goalie Garcia Dieter sustained a leg injury moments after the extra period began following a collision with Beach forwards on a rush toward the goal. After the match, Dieter was attended to by paramedics and was to be taken to a nearby hospital for examination.
But Edison kept its composure, and Louis Sebastien delivered a perfect cross to Damintas, who found an open spot and struck quickly to secure the win.
“This has been a very tough year for us,” Edison coach Gomez Laleau said. “But I knew these kids were not going to stop fighting.”
Damintas scored Edison’s first goal and Wensley Dayard added another with a pinpoint strike with his left foot in the 26th minute.
The Red Raiders, the bulk of whose roster has been comprised of Haitian players for years, ran around the field and later danced as they waved a Haitian flag in celebration.
Edison will next turn its attention to its main goal — trying to win the school’s first state championship.
The Red Raiders have advanced to the regional playoffs seven times since 2008 but never moved past the semifinal round.
Laleau believes this year’s squad has the potential to achieve something greater in a classification that includes powerhouse Gulliver Prep, among others.
Edison is the top seed in the District 15-2A tournament and will play either Ransom Everglades or Mater Lakes on Wednesday night at La Salle. The Red Raiders’ only loss this season was against Ransom.
“One thing we said to each other was that we were going to do our part,” Laleau said. “Our mission is to take it all the way, and we weren’t going to let anything get in our way.”