5A boys soccer semifinals: Denver East, Broomfield to battle for state title

(1) Denver East 1, (5) Grandview 0

(Dan Mohrmann/CHSAANow.com)

PARKER — A sense of joy and elation went through the Denver East players coaches and fans, only to have the officials waive it off.

An apparent game-winning goal didn't count because an Angel had leaked offside. Five minutes into the first overtime period, it didn't matter. Benji Gutierrez maintained the Denver East attack on the right side of the goal and with one kick, put Denver East in the Class 5A boys soccer state championship game.

"We were pressing them at the end," Gutierrez said. "We got the ball through a couple of times and we got that goal, but it was called offsides. We just kept trying to press that right side."

The Angels (18-1 overall) overcame their 2-1 loss to Broomfield in last year's semifinals and are now one of two teams left playing on the last day of the season.

"It's so different," Denver East keeper Victor Yague-Izquierdo said. "It's as much excitement as we've had in the quarterfinals or any other round for that matter. For us it's about one game at a time."

And apparently one game at a time. Each time had their chances when attacking in the first half.

A laser shot from East's Sam Carson was swatted away by Wolves (16-3) keeper Eddie St. Martin. Only moments later, Ivan Luna had the ball right in front of the East net, but Yague-Izquierdo came up with a big save of his.

Denver East Grandview boys soccer

(Dan Mohrmann/CHSAANow.com)

The further into the game the two teams got, the more it became apparent that one goal just might do the rick.

"Especially when you got down to 10 or 15 minutes left," Denver East coach Kirk Bast said. "You knew it was going to be a close game. It was a close game the whole way."

The big hope now for the Angels is that there is no letdown after the emotional high that they experienced in the semifinal win.

The players know it's important to get right back into their normal schedule so that they can get rested and prepared for Saturday's championship game.

"We just go back practice," Yague-Izquierdo said. "We look at each other and we remember that we got this and we can trust any guy on this team."

Saturday's championship is scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. start at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

(7) Broomfield 3, (3) Fort Collins 1

(Dan Mohrmann/CHSAANow.com)

Being a No. 7 seed in the state soccer tournament didn't seem to bother Broomfield at all. In fact, being down one goal didn't seem to be too troublesome either.

The Eagles beat Fort Collins 3-1 on Wednesday night to advance to Saturday's 5A state championship game where they'll face Denver East.

Early on, it didn't look like things were going to lean on Broomfield's side.

It was Eric Thompson who gave the Lambkins (16-2-1) the early lead as he buried a shot over the middle in the ninth minute.

Broomfield continued to press the attack and was rewarded in the 25th minute as Tanner Smith snuck the equalizer by Fort Collins keeper Alex Snavely.

Like the first game of the night, the two teams went into halftime locked in a tie.

Eight minutes into the second half that tie was broken as Cameron Broadhurst put the Eagles (16-2-1) up 2-1.

Bryce Simms had a breakaway and a chance to tie the game with about 16 minutes left, but Jose Ogaz smothered the ball in what was his fifth save of the game. Ogaz ended with seven saves on the night.

The Eagles had a few more chances to add an insurance goal, and finally found in with 20 seconds left on the clock to lock up their 10th championship game in school history. That also ties them with Liberty for the most state championship games in state history.

“The guys just gave a colossal effort tonight,” Eagles head coach Jim Davidson said. “They had to dig really deep and survive it a bit. We weren’t able to run much of a rotation so our guys handled themselves really well.”

The only thing standing between them and a state record seventh championship, is Denver East.

They missed out on a state title last year after falling to Boulder in a marathon game that went into 14 rounds of penalty kicks.

That championship game is scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. start at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.