Aztec holds off Piedra Vista for 4-3 win
The match originally was to have taken place Tuesday
- Aztec's Riley Barber and Bailey Watkins scored two goals each.
- PV's Max Eisenfeld recorded two goals in loss.
FARMINGTON — After Tuesday’s match was postponed because of rain and lighting, the Aztec and Piedra Vista boys soccer teams gave their fans a performance well worth the wait when the two teams met this morning at the PV soccer fields.
The match between the longtime rivals was physical, hard fought and saw multiple momentum shifts. In the end, the Tigers came away with a 4-3 victory.
“To see us keep our cool, keep our game plan, continue to attack with passing, I’m super happy with that,” Aztec head coach Steve Scales said. “I’m really proud of our boys for keeping mentally sharp in the second half. That’s how we get wins, especially on the road. It’s really hard to do that, and we did.”
PV (3-13, 1-3 District 1-5A) struck first, finding the back of the net in the first few minutes.
Cobi Haston found freshman Max Eisenfeld in front of the goal, and the freshman’s shot worked its way through a sleeping Aztec defense for the score.
During the next 35 minutes, the two teams battled back and forth. Each team threatened a few times, but the majority of the action took place near midfield, and clean scoring opportunities were tough to come by.
Aztec (10-6, 3-1) finally broke the scoring drought with less than two minutes remaining in the first half.
With play getting more and more physical as the half wore on, one of the Tiger forwards was taken down in the box and was awarded a penalty kick.
Riley Barber stepped up to take the penalty, and he kept his shot on the ground, fitting it just inside the left post to tie the match at 1.
The tie didn’t last long.
About one minute later, PV’s Richard Cross gave the Panthers the lead back. Leading up to the goal, PV was given a free kick about 5 yards inside the midfield line on the right side of the field. Cross played a perfect ball to the far post that carried just over the reach of the Aztec keeper for the goal.
Scales said both of PV’s goals in the first half were the result of the Panthers taking advantage when the Tigers made mental mistakes with their defense, and his message to his players was to simply to stay mentally sharp in the second half.
Coming out of halftime, PV appeared to open a 3-1 lead when Eisenfeld cleaned up a rebound off the Aztec keeper and parked it in the net, but the goal was disallowed when the assistant referee raised his flag to signal offside.
The offside call would prove to be a major play in the match, as one minute later Barber put the ball in the back of PV’s net to tie the match at 2.
Then, about four minutes later, Bailey Watkins put the Tigers ahead when he chased down a through ball and beat the PV keeper for the goal.
Watkins extended the Aztec lead about midway through the second half, fighting off a PV defender and beating the keeper to the far post.
Eisenfeld cut the deficit to one, timing his run well to get behind the Aztec backline and score with two minutes remaining. On the scoring play, the same assistant referee who called him offside to prevent the goal on the rebound raised his flag to signal Eisenfeld offside again, but the referee overruled his assistant and allowed the goal.
PV had a great chance to send the match to overtime during the final seconds when Haston’s cross into the box found one of his teammates, but the shot sailed just right of the goal.
“The boys played a heck of a game,” PV head coach Pat Denney said. “They possessed well and took advantage of some opportunities. We just had some bad luck here and there. I’m upset with the score, but not with how the boys played.”
Aztec will host Farmington (10-3-2, 5-0) on Tuesday.
PV will host Miyamura (1-10-3, 0-3) on Thursday.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.