Lansdowne sophomore Mike Miranda scored a goal just over two minutes into the biggest game of his career.
Just about two hours later, he drilled the game-ending penalty kick and gave the host Vikings (11-1-2) a 5-4 win on PKs and 2-1 double-overtime win in the Class 2A North Region I championship game.
“I was just going for a powerful shot to a corner. That was all that was going on through my mind,” Miranda said.
Under the new playoff format, where eight crowned regional champions will be reseeded, the Vikings will play in the elite eight, but their opponent has yet to be determined.
Nana Andoh, Ai Ling, Hoi Tha and Thau Hmu made the first four penalty kicks to set up Miranda with the game-winning clincher.
“Those guys were so calm on the PKs, they were just trying to pass it in, they weren’t trying to kill it,” Lansdowne coach George Dunn said. “It’s all about placement on PKs.”
Shooting second, Owings Mills (7-6) got successful penalty kicks from Fabris Fotembe, Oscar Enomorado Navarro and Arden Cerntino.
The miss on the fourth shot hit the crossbar.
“Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn, so today we learned,” Owings Mills coach Tolwaloju Runsewe said.
Enomorado Navarro scored the equalizing goal with 15:46 left in the first half and he nearly had a game-winner with 3:35 left in the first 10-minute overtime after he got a 1 v. 1 against goalie Pablo Lema, but his shot leaked wide.
The Vikings started with a flurry of shots on goal.
Less then two minutes into the game, Lansdowne’s Aldo Moctezuma-Aguillon send a low reverse liner inside the post, but Owings Mills goalie Jonas Trim made a stellar save.
Sophomore Ben Kolarek assisted his classmate, Miranda, 29 seconds later.
“Kolarek has great vision on the field,” Dunn said. “He anticipates where the ball is going to be and where it’s going to go and he’s one step ahead of these guys.”
Just over two minutes after Lansdowne’s first goal, a corner kick by Andoh led to a pair of shots by Cho Sa on the doorstep that were saved and bobbled around the goal line by Trim.
Another golden chance in the first half came after Ling crossed a ball into the box that Dom Supak scissor-kicked off the field goal cross bar just over the top of the goal.
“He got all the way around. That is really some good hustle,” Dunn said.
Supac played much of the game with an injured hamstring and the Vikings were without top midfielder Brian Romero who was sidelined with a dislocated elbow.
“It really tested our depth, but we had some guys come off that bench that stepped up,” Dunn said. “That’s what is all about, creating opportunities for kids to do something.”
What really tested the Vikings was the explosiveness of Enomorado Navarro who was moved from a defensive position to striker during the season.
“He’s going to play pro. He’s a future professional player,” Runsewe said. “He is a dynamic player for sure.”
Lansdowne’s Dunn made his defense, which included Andoh, Hmu, Ling and Lai Tha, well aware of him and chased him up and down the field.
“He’s good, no doubt, we had to watch him,” Dunn said. “I told our defense to key on him.”
Much of the second half was played in the midfield and Lansdowne got solid play from midfielders Van Thang and Sa, but the Owings Mills defense held strong.
The Vikings best scoring chance came with under a minute left when a pass from Hmu and hard work from Supak set up a corner kick for Kolarek.
The ball he sent in pin-balled off several players, but never crossed the line and a late shot by Tha was corralled by Trim, sending the game into two 10-minute overtimes.
Just over a minute into overtime, Lema had to get up off the deck and make a save on a shot by Cerntino that deflected off a defender and headed for the back of the net.
Cerntino had another golden chance with 5:30 left in the second overtime after a cross by Enamorada Navarro but he drilled it just wide of the goal.
When the Vikings celebrated after the penalty kicks, senior Tha talked about his relief.
“This is my last year, so I want to make my coach proud of me,” Tha said. “It would be an honor for me.”
Penalty kicks at practice were kind of a roller coaster affair, but they came through when it counted.
“I was kind of nervous because every time we practiced, we didn’t make it too well,” Tha said. “Yesterday we practiced and we did really well and I’m really proud for my team.”
Miranda was excited that he got a chance to end it after the Vikings had given up their first-half lead.
“We were practicing, always keep your head up and if the other team scores, you have to keep going and try to score,” Miranda said.
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In the end, that’s exactly what he did.