Marquez defeats Fremont in a shootout during finals of South East Winter Classic

Fremont winger Joshua Valenzuela crosses the ball into the penalty area in front of Marquez defender Henry Gonzalez
Fremont winger Joshua Valenzuela crosses the ball into the penalty area before Marquez defender Henry Gonzalez can deflect it. (Steve Galluzzo / For The Times)

The City Section soccer playoffs are still two months away, but Marquez established itself as a major threat to win the boys Division I title after defeating Fremont 4-2 in a shootout in the finals of the South East Winter Classic on Tuesday night at Gahr High in Cerritos.

Sophomore Marvin Vasquez stepped to the penalty spot and calmly fired the game-winning kick inside the right post, setting off a wild celebration by the Gladiators (8-1-4). Goalkeeper Irvin Yanez made two saves, the second when he dove to his right to get his glove on a low shot that ricocheted off the goal post and back onto the field of play, never crossing the line.

Irvin Yanez holds the championship trophy.
Marquez goalkeeper Irvin Yanez, right, holds the championship trophy after making two saves in the shootout against Fremont. (Steve Galluzzo / For The Times)

“Once I saw our goalie block the second shot I knew I had a chance to end it,” Vasquez said. “I was confident I’d make it, I picked a side and went for it. Looking at his feet, I noticed the goalie leaning to the other side, so I chose the opposite corner.”

Senior defender Edgar Auscencio, who had five assists in the tournament, was named most valuable player and presented a new soccer ball and Yanez took home the best goalkeeper trophy.

“Winning this is a big deal because there were a lot of good teams at this tournament and we came out on top,” Vasquez added. “Our team is closer than ever, we play for each other, the chemistry is great and we definitely want to win City.”

The first 40 minutes were evenly played, with each side generating quality chances but not able to finish. The score was tied 0-0 at the end of regulation. The Pathfinders (14-1-2) earned six corner kicks in the second half but were unable to capitalize and senior forward Franklin Orellena narrowly missed two direct free kicks from just outside of the penalty area.

Franklin Orellena dribbles between Marquez players.
Fremont striker Franklin Orellena dribbles between Luis Viera and Edgar Auscencio of Marquez in the South East Winter Classic final. (Steve Galluzzo / For The Times)

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This year, the tournament expanded from 24 to 32 teams, all but four of them representing the City Section. The field was broken down into eight groups of four teams each, with the top two from each group advancing to the knockout stage.

Fremont tied Fairfax 1-1 before beating Camino Nuevo 3-0, Sotomayor 5-0, Animo Bunche 2-1, King/Drew 2-0 and Palisades 2-1 on its way to the final. Marquez tied Wilson 2-2 then blanked Animo Bunche 3-0, beat Morningside by forfeit, shut out Fairfax 3-0 and Hamilton 2-0 and edged Torres on penalties en route to the final.

Fremont forward Joshua Valenzuela, goalie Adrian Trujillo and midfielder Ricky Molina made the all-tournament first team as did Marquez forward Ruben Rodriguez.

South East Winter Classic past results 


Winner: South

Runner up: East Locke


Winner: South

Runner up: East Locke


Winner: Locke

Runner up: South East


Winner: South Gate

Runner up: West Adams


Winner: Fremont

Runner up: South Gate


Winner: Granada Hills

Runner up: Locke


Winner: South Gate

Runner up: Sotomayor


Winner: Jefferson

Runner up: Locke


Winner: Marquez

Runner up: Bright Star




Winner: Birmingham

Runner up: South East


Winner: Bell

Runner up: South East


Winner: Marquez

Runner up: Fremont

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.