For a while, it seemed like Tyson Tesfariam wasn’t destined to score.
The junior midfielder missed two point-blank opportunities in the first 20 minutes of Thursday’s Sunset Region quarterfinal match but said he never got frustrated.
Instead, he stayed the course, scored at the end of the first half, then again in the second to help the Trailblazers’ boys soccer team pull away from Legacy and win 5-1 at Bettye Wilson Park.
“I could have done a little better, like not miss easy, open goals, but it happens,” Tesfariam said. “We didn’t know what we were playing for (in the regular season). Now we’re trying to win state, so we’re playing hard for it.”
Durango, the Southwest League’s top seed, advances to play Cimarron-Memorial (15-6-2) in the semifinals at 4 p.m Friday at BettyeWilson Park.
The Trailblazers scored in the ninth minute, then allowed an equalizer in the 14th. In the 20th, Tesfariam saw an open ball between himand the Legacy keeper. They raced to it, arrived at the same time and the ball bounded backward. Durango’s Jaime Munguia launched it from near midfield over the outstretched arms of a Legacy defender and into the net for 2-1 lead.
The play drew a red card for Legacy, and the Longhorns (6-9-4) could not recover playing short-handed.
Tesfariam’s karma finally caught up with him, and he put the Trailblazers up 3-1 16 minutes later. Then he scored again in the 51st minute to put the game out of reach.
“His speed is obviously what you’re seeing,” Durango coach Richard Cuellar said. “No one can keep up with him.”
Marcos Delgado and William Hailu scored Durango’s other goals. Diego Gonzalez-Ruiz netted the Longhorns’ lone score.
Last year the Trailblazers reached their first state tournament since 2000 by virtue of coming in second in the Sunset Region and winning the state play-in game. With the tournament held in Reno this year, Cuellar knows his squad will have to win the region title to advance.
“Right now they’re looking mighty awesome,” Cuellar said. “I am very satisfied with these gentleman. They are playing their hearts outright now.”
Bishop Gorman 2, Centennial 1 — At Bettye Wilson Park, Corrigan Neville scored midway through the overtime period to lead the Gaels over the Bulldogs in the Sunset Region quarterfinals.
Vincent Turk tied the game for Bishop Gorman (18-1-4) with a penalty kick in the second half.
Ahmed Green scored on a penalty kick for the Bulldogs (9-6-4) in the first half.
Cimarron-Memorial 4, Spring Valley 3 — At Bettye Wilson Park, Kevin Andrade scored in the third minute to give the Spartans the lead they would never lose in a Sunset Region quarterfinal match against the Grizzlies.
Andrade also had an assist. Jimi Villasenor and Gustavao Garcia-Reyes each had a goal and an assist for the Spartans (15-6-2), and George Balcazar had a goal.
John Goecke scored twice for the Grizzles (9-6-4), and Bum Cho added a goal. Patrick Falkensammer had two assists for Spring Valley.
Palo Verde 4, Sierra Vista 2 — At Bettye Wilson Park, Presten Manthey scored two second-half goals to help complete the Panthers’ comeback over the Mountain Lions in the Sunset Region quarterfinals.
Henry Robledo-Matadamas and Michael each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers (17-5-2), who scored to tie it at halftime after the Mountain Lions went up 2-0.
Daniel Perez and Justin Prescia scored for Sierra Vista (8-10-2).