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Pepi’s to play the waiting game

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VAIL – The collective sentiment of the Pepi’s men’s soccer team’s bench after Saturday’s Vail Invitational action was a hopeful, “See you tomorrow.”After an opening win against Casual F.C. Friday, the locals tied Three Lions, 1-1, and drew with the Denver Kickers, 2-2 Saturday, leaving their chances for advancing today’s quarterfinals up in the air.With a record of 1-0-2 in Pool A, Pepi’s has 17 points and will be waiting on today’s match between Three Lions and the Kickers at 8 a.m. at Ford Park to see if it will capture one of the group’s two quarterfinal berths. The Lions have 14 points, while the Kickers are sitting on 13.According to the NASA supercomputer that is the Vail Recreation District’s Joel Rabinowitz, there are the following scenarios, using the 10-point system (six for a win, three for a tie, one for each goal scored up to three and one for a shutout):- A win by either the Lions or the Kickers all but puts Pepi’s through as Pool A’s No. 2 seed. The only caveat here is if the Lions lose and score three goals. In this very unlikely scenario – a minimum combined seven goals in one game – the Kickers would win the group and the Lions would advance by virtue of goal differential.

– A scoreless tie would also do the trick for Pepi’s. That would make the Lions the top seed from Pool A.- A 1-1 tie makes things messy. In that case, the Lions are into the quarters and Pepi’s and the Kickers are tied at 17 points. Head-to-head, the two teams tied. They would have the exact same goal differential. The next tiebreaker would be least red cards accrued – and neither side has one through Saturday. So that would set up penalty kicks to determine the second berth.- A 2-2 draw or ties with higher scores eliminates Pepi’s.”I don’t know. Ties are pretty common out here,” Pepi’s vet Daryl Goehring said. “It’s going to be close. I think the Kickers will win it. We just don’t want a tie. There’s not much we can do, but hope.”There is one certainty – if Pepi’s advances to the quarters, it will play at the Vail Mountain School today at 11:30 a.m.

One minuteThings could have been a whole lot simpler had not the Kickers’ Josh Veryser scored in the final minute to tie it at two in Pepi’s’ pool finale. As has been the local side’s style, Pepi’s went down 1-0 on a counter-attack goal from Denver’s Valdo Ortez. But Pepi’s rallied with gusto on a laser from Edgar Mancera, who played down his excellent performance against the Kickers.”It was good luck,” he said. “When we win, everybody wins. It’s not only my job. We have 11 players.”Mancera later logged an assist with a beautiful serve off a corner kick. It went straight to Goehring who got his head on it for a 2-1 lead.



So, Daryl, on a scale from 1 to 10, how good was the ball from Mancera?”Edgar’s serve was definitely a 10. That was a great serve,” Goehring said. “Edgar’s goal itself was even better. Edgar undressed two people and then puts it in the corner. That was a great goal.”At that point, Pepi’s was looking at a 2-1 win, 20 points and an easy ride into the quarters – until the Kickers struck for the draw.”Actually, we were dominating the first half,” said Victor Stump, who coaches the Kickers with Luis Baez. “(Pepi’s) came through. Their player (Mancera) came through with a huge goal. Of course, the second goal they got, the head goal, was a great goal. There were no sloppy goals in this game. It was big tie. We’re still with Pepi’s.”When you’re up and you go down, your stomach just goes to the bottom. You just have to have faith in the guys on the field that they’re going to come back.”

Just for kicksProvided that things break right for Pepi’s this morning, the team will face the No. 1 seed from Pool D. In that group, the Denver Soccer Club is sitting in the driver’s seat with 18 points, followed by Colorado Sporting Premier at nine. The Denver Kickers Vets and Fort Collins United have four each, but are still mathematically alive. Denver Soccer Club plays Fort Collins today at 9:15 a.m. at VMS. The Kickers Vets and Colorado Sporting Premier meet at the Vail Athletic Field, also at 9:15. … Knocking wood: If it advances, Pepi’s’ semifinal would be at Ford Park at 1:30 p.m. The title game is at the Vail Athletic Field at 3 p.m. … The Denver Soccer Club is the only team with two wins in pool play through Saturday’s action. … In Pepi’s’ 1-1 draw with Three Lions, David Ludwin scored for the locals.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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