Mission beats O’Connell under Kezar Stadium lights

The time, date, opponent and location don’t seem to matter.

When the Mission boys’ soccer team is playing an Academic Athletic Association opponent, it just doesn’t lose.

The Bears opened the league season Wednesday night against O’Connell under unique and special circumstances, as the two rivals played the first match under the lights at Kezar Stadium in AAA history. And when it was over, Mission had extended its league winning streak to 34 games with a 3-2 win over the Boilermakers.

Edgar Gomez-Carreto scored all three goals for the Bears (2-5, 1-0 AAA), including a sizzling shot from 36 yards out that ripped into the side netting in the 77th minute to break a 2-2 tie.

“It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was a freshman,” Gomez-Carreto said. “To play our rival on this field under the lights made us feel like professionals.”

Mission trailed 2-1 entering the second half, but Gomez-Carreto quickly evened the score. The senior made a long run into the O’Connell penalty area and was tripped up, setting up a penalty kick. He converted the shot in the 45th minute and, from that point on, it seemed like only a matter of time until the Bears would take the lead. Mission controlled the play for much of the game and outshot O’Connell 19-5.

“It was really, really special,” Mission coach Scott Kennedy said. “To see all the hard work the kids put in rewarded on a stage like this wasgreat.”

While the Bears carried the play for much of the evening, the Boilermakers (0-1) seemed poised to steal the show after an explosive end to the first half. Mission took the lead in the ninth minute when Gomez-Carreto scored off a pass from Lazaro Munoz, while O’Connell had yet to register a shot on goal until the final five minutes. But sophomore Devin Martinez scored on a breakaway in the 38th minute to even the score at 1-1 and found Jonathan Hernandez on a cross in stoppage time as the Boilermakers took a 2-1 lead.

“It’s hard to say I’m pleased with a loss but I’m really proud of how my guys played,” O’Connell coach Bob Gamino said. “And after playing this well under the lights on this big, beautiful field against a great Mission team, I think we’ll do fine the rest of the way.”

Mission 3, O’Connell 2

melliser@examiner.com

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