Lane earned a boost from an unexpected source and found itself back in very familiar surroundings.
Indians defender Josh Zamudio recorded his first goal of the year on a crucial header and added an assist as host Lane knocked out Washington 3-0 in a Public League semifinal on Tuesday.
The Indians (16-5-1) won their sixth consecutive game and earned their fourth consecutive city title appearance Thursday against Kelly at North Park. Lane has lost in each of the three previous city title games, including an overtime loss to the Trojans in 2012.
Lane optimized its best scoring chance in the 20th minute. Junior forward Owen Finn drove down the right edge of the field and slotted a cross toward the far post that Zamudio elevated and smashed home.
“I made my run and time it just right,” Zamudio said. “One midfielder [Jaime Lopez] overlapped and that created some space.
“I saw my chance and I took it.”
Lane goalkeeper Raudel Rojas preserved the slender lead by registering six saves. He made two superb diving stops in the 47th and 57th minute, respectively.
“I thought it was really solid first half, except for the goal,” Washington coach Arturo Perez said.
The Patriots’ top player, Luis Ortega, went out late in the first half after colliding with a Lane defender. “That hurt us, and their keeper made some good stops there, otherwise we’re maybe up 2-1 there,” Perez said.
Washington (8-6-3) was also unlucky after twice hitting the post.
The Indians methodically maintained possession and broke the game open by scoring two goals minutes apart, in the 64th and 66th minute. Finn again was the facilitator. He angled the ball down the right sideline and played a sharp cross to midfielder Marvin Junay. Junay alertly re calibrated on his shot and punched home the rebound.
“We told them one more goal and it would probably knock them out,” Junay said. “I made the end of run and fortunately the rebound was right there.”
Forward Rafael Guzman put the game away by drilling a ball just outside that hit the underside of the crossbar and curved inside the net. Zamudio helped create the score with his through ball.
“It is an honor to play for this team and school.” Guzman said. “It feels great to be I four straight city championships. Now we have to win it. Kelly’s good, they came back from being down 3-1 and we are really looking forward to playing them.”