KISSIMMEE — Just minutes away from a state semifinal berth, Mitchell junior Alejandro Motta was awarded a red card for a controversial slide tackle on Celebration's Jeremy Hong with 2:51 remaining.
The Mustangs overcame playing a man down for rest of the game and punched their ticket to the Class 4A state semifinals in Tampa next week with an epic 1-0 victory Friday night at Storm Field.
"It wasn't our best, but these guys wanted to win," Mitchell coach Oscar Ubillus said.
And Ubillus' reaction to the red card down the stretch?
"It was a foul but I don't know if it was a straight red, but what can you do."
Mitchell (24-2-3) took the initiative in the early minutes and played aggressively on the offensive end to set up its only goal in the 10th minute by junior midfielder Max Rockwell's free kick from 25 yards past Storm goalkeeper John Birchall.
"I heard (Celebration) had a young keeper and thought I would test him and it paid off," Rockwell said.
Celebration (17-5) had several opportunities late in the first half from Hong, who almost tied the game on a shot from 20 yards that flew harmlessly over the left crossbar. The Mustangs took 18 shots on goal compared with Celebration's nine.
In the final thirty seconds, Celebration nearly tied it on several occasions but the ball was cleared out of Mitchell's penalty box to help secure its berth to Tampa.
"Our goal is not just to get there (Tampa), but we want to perform well and play Thursday," Ubillus said.
Mitchell will play the winner of the Cocoa Space Coast-Pembroke Pines Charter region final, which was postponed until tonight.