With the score tied, O’Brian pushed up the ball in the second half, scoring the winning goal for Burroughs in a 2-1 win at Memorial Field.
It is the second straight season Burroughs (9-9-3) — the fourth-place team from the Pacific League — has notched a wild-card victory by one goal. Last season, the squad defeated host Montclair, 2-1.
“I thought that we didn’t play all that well, really,” Burroughs Coach Louis Binda said. “But we got some good play from our defense, which helped us out a lot.”
Along with O’Brian, the defense was paced by Celina Rodriguez, Marilena Hidalgo and Marisa Vasquez.
The team also received a fine effort from sophomore goalkeeper Tatiana Sanchez, who made 10 saves.
Burroughs was able to score the winning goal in the 70th minute on an impressive effort by O’Brien. Coming up from her defensive spot, she tracked down the ball just past midfield in Chino (5-8-3) territory. She dribbled the ball toward the Cowboys goal, avoided some defenders and let loose a hard shot. The offering curved toward the goal and came to rest in the left-lower corner of the net.
O’Brien said when she first took possession of the ball; she knew exactly what she was going to do.
“Take a shot,” she said. “I knew that I had to get a shot off. I wasn’t going to do all of that work and not at least get a shot When I saw it go in, that was awesome.”
The teams battled in a defensive struggle through the first half. Although Chino had its share of scoring opportunities, it couldn’t notch a goal and the half ended in a scoreless tie.
Burroughs was finally able to break the stalemate in the second half with a goal in the 49th minute. After a scrum in front of the Cowboys’ goal, junior Danielle Salinas was able to tip the ball in, as the Chino goalkeeper couldn’t stop the offering from trickling in.
Chino was able to tie the score at 1 on a set play in the 64th minute. On a corner kick, Christina Mercer got the ball back after a give-and-go, and fired a shot on goal that went in a midst a scramble in front of the net.
“We have given up five or six goals this season on set plays,” Binda said. “I told the girls to look out for one and don’t get beat on a set piece. But that’s how they were able to score their goal.”
The Indians were able to weather a Chino barrage in the closing minutes, as the Cowboys’ pushed up players on offense in an attempt to get the tying goal.