It was going to be a daunting enough task at full strength for the Dublin Boys Soccer team to go on the road to beat #3 Vintage in the North Coast Section Quarterfinals. The Crushers beat the Gaels in Dublin earlier this season 2-1 and also defeated the Gaels 4-0 in an NCS First Round contest in 2020, and the challenge became even greater when the Gaels lost two of their top offensive weapons (Jaydan Albarran and Eamon Fakhri) to injury in their victory over San Ramon Valley. Dublin battled valiantly despite being short-handed, but ultimately fell to Vintage 4-2 on Saturday night.
The Crushers opened the scoring in the 16th minute on a free kick, and just when it appeared that the Gaels might only be trailing by one goal heading into halftime, Vintage scored again in the final minutes of the first half to take a 2-0 advantage into the break. Vintage pulled away in the opening minutes of the second half on a controversial goal that was allowed to stand by the Center Referee despite being flagged for an offside penalty by the Assistant Referee. Dublin responded with a goal of its own just minutes later by Tristan Casella to trim their deficit to 3-1 in the 50th minute.
Dublin controlled the tempo over the final 30 minutes and had an excellent scoring chance in the 67th minute after a cross by Andrew Jacob to Michael Hong nearly resulted in a goal but were for it a great defensive stop. The Gaels had another chance in the 74th minute come up just short and Dublin would never get any closer. Both teams exchanged goals on penalty kicks in stoppage time, including one by Colin McCuen as time expired.
Despite the loss, Dublin has a lot to be proud of after finishing the season 12-6-5 overall, its 9th consecutive season with a winning mark. Other milestones includes Dublin’s 2nd place finish in the East Bay Athletic League, the highest place in the EBAL standings it has earned since 1980. In addition, this season also marked the Gaels’ 13th consecutive appearance in the NCS playoffs, a mark only surpassed in school history by the Girls’ Basketball current streak of 18 consecutive postseason appearances.