Although most soccer teams treat the GMAC tournament as nothing more than a tune-up for the more important district playoffs the following week, that was not necessarily the case with the Edison boys’ team on Monday afternoon.
The Red Raiders, whose roster consists solely of Haitian players who pretty much play with a chip on their shoulder from the first whistle to the final whistle, used every ounce of energy they had to knock off tradition-rich Columbus 2-1 at Traz Powell Stadium in a GMAC quarterfinal match.
“This was big for us [Monday] because we don’t feel we get the respect we deserve,” said Edison goalkeeper Stanley Sainville, who made an outstanding save of a Columbus penalty kick with nine minutes left that would have tied the score, diving to his left and stoning a shot off the foot of Juan Carlos Muniz. “We all come out here as teammates and play for each other, and now we want to go on and win the whole thing.”
Edison’s next step toward a GMAC title, will come Tuesday at 7 p.m. when the Red Raiders take on Ferguson in a GMAC semifinal at Tropical Park. Reagan will square off against Miami Beach in the other semifinal at 5 p.m.
Despite improving their record to 13-1-2, the Red Raiders will enter their district tournament next week as the No. 4 seed. But before that, they’ll be looking to knock off Ferguson, which would put them into their first GMAC title game on Thursday.
“I know nobody gives us a lot of credit, but our kids really came out and played hard [Monday] and beating a great program like Columbus is a big deal to them,” Edison coach Gomez Laleau said. “Our kids know that a lot of times nobody gives them much of a chance and that they have to fight for everything they get, and that’s what they did out there [Monday].”
Edison took an early lead in the game’s fourth minute when Tchepsen Noreus was fouled in the box, and Richelin Etienne converted the penalty kick
Columbus, just two years removed from winning the Class 5A state title, tied the score just one minute before halftime when Muniz got a throw-in to Kevin Youmans, who right-footed it in front of the net where Lucas Gomez headed it in.
Edison scored what turned out to be the game-winner just five minutes into the second half when Israel Sagesse took a perfect pass down low from Ednel Clebert and knocked it home.
Columbus (13-5-2) pressed the action over the final 20 minutes, but Sainville was equal to the task, making a cluster of saves including the penalty kick.
Ferguson 2, American 0: J.C. Rafols and Robert Ore each had a first-half goal, Ore’s coming on a penalty kick, and then turned things over to goalkeeper David Grajares, who preserved the shutout in the second half as the Falcons (15-1-3) won their GMAC quarterfinal matchup at Ferguson High.
Reagan 3, Palmetto 0: Abel Caputo, Daniel Earanton and Sergio Niva each had a goal as the Bison (17-3-2) cruised in their GMAC quarterfinal contest at Reagan High. Goalkeeper Jonathan Valez recorded three saves in front of the net to notch the shutout.
Miami Beach 3, Jackson 2 (3-1 PKs): Hosting Jackson at Memorial Field, the Hi-Tides squandered a 2-0 halftime lead as Jackson rallied to send the game to penalty kicks. But Jackson managed to win the penalty-kick round 3-1 to advance to its GMAC semifinal game.
Josue Aguilar and Angel Espeche each had a firs- half goal to lead Beach, which improved to 15-1-2.