Posted: 4:00 pm Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Boys Soccer: Inside the regional finals 

By Anthony Chiang

Teams are just three wins away from a state title, and there are still six local boys soccer teams alive in the playoffs.

Boca Raton faces Fort Pierce Central in the regional finals Friday. (Photo by Damon Higgins)

Here is what you need to know:

Regional Finals (All games on Friday at 7 p.m. unless noted otherwise):

Class 5A
Fort Pierce Central at Boca Raton

Scouting report: Boca Raton is one of the best teams in the area even though it graduated 13 seniors in the offseason. The Bobcats are 22-1-2 and won their 12th consecutive district championship this season. Junior Sebastian Elney and Tomer Bitton are two of the county’s best players and they are both on Boca Raton’s roster.

Coach’s Take: “What I’ve noticed this season is that I knew I had good players, but they weren’t starters for me last year because there were great Division I players in front of them,” Boca Raton coach Marcelo Castillo said. “Now, those players are getting the opportunity to play every day and they are stepping up. It’s their time to shine.”

Class 4A
Fort Lauderdale at Atlantic

Scouting report: Atlantic’s boys soccer team is one match away from reaching the state semifinals for the first time in school history. But it won’t be easy. Fort Lauderdale enters Friday’s game with an 18-1-3 record under first-year coach Andre Reynolds. The Eagles should be up for the test, though, as they have posted an 11-0-2 record in their past 13 games.

Coach’s take: “Obviously they know they can make history with a win Friday,” Atlantic coach Mike Sicard said. “But my team is relaxed about it. I don’t think they will feel the magnitude of the game until actual game time.”

Class 2A
American Heritage at Miami-Gulliver Prep, Thursday at 3:30 p.m.

Scouting report: Since Alvin James took over at American Heritage’s head coach in 2005, none of his teams have posted a better record than the 21-1 mark this year’s squad has. Last year, the Stallions fell to Gulliver Prep in this round, losing 3-2 to the Raiders in the regional finals.

Coach’s take: “Obviously it can be redemption for us,” said American Heritage coach Alvin James of his team’s rematch with Gulliver Prep. “But we don’t look at it that way. We look at it as a step toward getting to our goal, which is winning a state title.”

Class 1A
Pine School at Trinity Christian

Scouting report: These two teams faced off on Jan. 9 and Trinity Christian won 3-2. The Warriors are 16-5-1 this season with a roster that features just three seniors. Trinity Christian is led by Jowi Daantji and Rashid Gerard, who have scored 22 goals and 21 goals, respectively.

Coach’s take: “I think it’s going to be an even game. They’re very quick and they’re very solid in the midfield,” said Trinity Christian coach Shawn McDonald of Friday’s matchup with Pine School. “We’re peaking at the right time. We seem to be playing much, much better defensively.”