Locomotion Saturday

Now in its 18th season, Locomotion is the largest AYSO tournament in Southern California. It’s hosted by AYSO Region 47 (Riverside) and is held annually during President’s Day weekend.

This is my third Locomotion, and this year is a little different. Instead of being a “floating” referee, or working which ever games are open, I’ve been assigned to a three-man team representing one of our region’s Boys U14 teams.

So… I refereed three games on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2012, including a high-intensity Boys U14 game that was played under the lights with start time of 6 p.m.

Having recently passed one of two Advanced referee assessments, I was placed in charge, with veteran referees Pablo Sanchez and Michael Orr as my assistants.

The game pitted Corona (in blue) vs. Palos Verdes (in red), with first place in their pool on the line heading into their final pool-play game on Sunday.

The match was even until Corona #15 headed in a centering pass from his teammate on the wing. On the play, #15, standing outside the goal are, headed a high-arching shot that eluded Palos Verdes’ goalkeeper and dipped under the cross bar.

Seemingly awakened, Palos Verdes equalized in the 24th minute when #4 tapped in a loose ball in front goal. PV may have celebrated a bit too much because Corona, undeterred, score just one minute later as #9 scored after some great combination in the attacking third.

Corona led 2-1 at halftime, but looked a little flat coming out of the break. It wasn’t until a Corona player shouted, “They’ve picked their energy up!” that his teammates responded, fought for loose balls and scored a pair of back-breaking goals in the 41st and 42nd minutes (the teams play 25 min. halves).

Corona, smelling blood, made a goalkeeper switch and placed their hulking 6-foot, 190-pound backstop at forward. Palos Verdes would take advantage, however, and after a disputed hand-ball in the box by Corona, PV’s #22 finished off the play by finding the back of the net.

If the ball had not been in the “mixer” as it were, and had PV not taken advantage, I think I would have called for a penalty. As it was, PV scored anyway, negating the effect of the non-call.

With time winding down, PV began to take a lot of chances and almost paid dearly. With less than 30 seconds remaining, I whistled for a foul against PV in PV’s goal area (two players went up to head a ball, a PV player lunging akwardly and making contact). Alas, the horn sounded to end the game and rather than inflict more punishment upon PV, I decided to blow the final whistle.

With players all around wondering what had happened, and coaches on both sides about to blow their lids, I said, “Nah. Not tonight.”

Game over. Problem solved.

Now it’s time to hydrate, ice, and prepare for tomorrow.

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