Terra Linda, San Rafael battle to a stalemate

The San Rafael High boys soccer team entered Tuesday’s game looking to gain three Vital points and keep its push for the MCAL Playoffs alive. Terra Linda entered the Crosstown rivalry game looking for three points to not only shore up its playoff chances but stay within striking distance of first-place Redwood.

In the end, try as they might, neither team got quite what they wanted on the night. The Bulldogs and Trojans went up and down the field on each other all game long, but neither side was ultimately able to create a goal in a 0-0 draw under the lights at San Rafael High.

“For as much danger as there was in the final third, there wasn’t any great chance on frame,” Terra Linda Coach Mike Crivello said. “I think both of us are going to look back on this game and say we worked really hard, we did a lot of good stuff, but we didn’t really create enough in the final third to get a goal and that’s why we sat 0-0.”

The result left Terra Linda’s five-point lead over San Rafael (5-5-5, 5-5-3 MCAL) for fourth place intact but Terra Linda (7-2-2, 7-2-2) has a pair of games in hand relative to the Bulldogs.

“I think at the end of the day with our pole position, we were probably happy to get out of here with a draw,” Crivello said.

Entering Tuesday, the Trojans (23 points) still had a chance to chase down Redwood for first place if they could defeat the Giants for a second time this season on Thursday and win their remaining makeup game against Archie Williams.

The top three teams – Redwood (31 points), Novato and Tam (both on 26 points) – all won on Tuesday so TL would need to win out and get some help to make a run at the regular-season title.

San Rafael fashioned the best chance of the match in the 68th minute when Jose Ruiz slipped a through ball to Juan Hernandez, who was in on goal behind the defense for a moment. Terra Linda midfielder Elvin Maldonado made a perfectly timed slide tackle to deny Hernandez a shot on goal, sending the ball out for a San Rafael corner.

“It was the last chance we had in terms of (one on one) with the keeper and it just so happens their defender gets a last-second touch on it,” San Rafael Coach Edgar Hernandez said.

For all the possession both teams had in the attacking third, Hernandez’s run created one of the few moments of real danger.

“That was the best chance and Elvin just tracked back from the midfield and made a heck of a sliding tackle to save it,” Crivello said. “You don’t know – it’s a tough angle, the keeper’s there – but I’m glad we didn’t find out.”

San Rafael had a couple of other bright moments in the final 10 minutes, forcing a save out of TL’s freshman goalie, Jesse Rodriguez, in the 72nd minute.

Hernandez almost got in behind TL’s defense again in the 79th minute – this time off a through ball from Norman Tellez – but Rodriguez was off his line quickly and was able to get to the ball first.

“(Rodriguez) snuffed out some chances and read some balls that he got to or he did a nice job of cleaning up some crosses that were coming in and just sort of really saved us,” Crivello said. “He had a couple good saves and a couple of tough shots that he didn’t give up rebounds on, too. I thought he played really well and that’s one of the reasons we got out of here giving up no goals.”

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