Top seeds in the state soccer tournament have been challenged. Glendale, seeded second, has been eliminated. The third and fourth seeds won matches by a single goal.
Even the Canyon Del Oro Dorados, the defending state champions and top seed, needed two overtimes to salvage a 2-1 opening-round victory over the #16 Tempe McClintock Chargers.
In their second-round game on Saturday, the Dorados used Donny Toia's hat trick to edge Copper Canyon, 3-2. Those wins send the Dorados into Wednesday's semifinal against #4 Glendale Apollo. First kick is at 5 p.m. at Tucson High School.
McClintock was no slouch.
In the 91st minute, the Dorados scored what would prove to be the winning goal on a beautiful throw-in by Donny Toia, the area's leading goal scorer, that set up Jose Migueles for the score.
"We got lucky," Toia said. "We got the win. Every state game, they come to play."
The Dorados were not without their chances, outshooting the visiting Chargers 20-8.
"When we get opportunities, we have to get the goals," said CDO coach Josh Marshall.
"To get 20 shots, we should've scored three or four goals at least."
After a scoreless first half, both teams scored on their initial shots of the second half. Toia broke through for the Dorados in the 45th minute on an assist from Connor Wharton. Two minutes later, the Chargers' Luis Bonilla nailed a long shot into the net f to tie it at 1-1.
"After you score a goal," Marshall said. "It's a vulnerable feeling."
Toia's throw-ins created many opportunities. One of his first-half bombs was so powerful that it hit the goal post with the velocity of a John Elway pass.
"We had plenty of scoring opportunities," Toia said. "I should've capitalized. It's unfortunate."
The Dorados defense was certainly instrumental, holding the Chargers to eight shots in a game in which there were three total shots on goal in the first 12 minutes between the two squads.
"Our defense played well," Marshall said.
Would this hotly-contested win help the Dorados in the next round?
"When we get new motivation," Marshall said. "We should be able to play well in the next round."
CDO and Copper Canyon battled to a 2-2 first half tie. Toia scored the tie-breaker in the 57th minute. Caleb Cristia, Kyle Cornell and Dante Medina each had assists.