Golden goal lifts Longhorns over Titans
Mike Eaton delivered when the Longhorns were in desperate need of a spark.The senior midfielder ended Basalt’s 75-minute scoring drought Saturday against visiting Coal Ridge. He charged through the Titans defense to score a golden goal with one minute remaining in overtime to help the Longhorns pull out a 2-1 victory – its second one-goal win in as many 3A Western Slope games this season. “We just want to make it more exciting for the crowd this year,” Basalt coach John McDermott joked. “We dominated all over the field. We knew a goal would come. We were putting too much pressure on them.”Eaton saw his opportunity as Kevin Newland pushed the ball up the right side and looked to the middle. Forward Singi Sanyo slowed in space to accept the pass.
Eaton called off Sanyo.”I saw the ball roll through the defense, and Singi was backing up,” Eaton said. “I had a chance to shoot running on the goal.”Newland passed to the middle, through a host of defenders, and Eaton fired a shot with his left foot, rattling the bottom left corner of the net. The Longhorns (2-2 overall, 2-0 conference) converted on just two of 22 shots, but that proved to be enough. Coal Ridge has lost all three of its games this season by one goal – two in overtime.
“We knew this was going to be a tough week, but the way things turned out made it even tougher,” Titans coach Brian Blair said. “Basalt beat us 3-0 and 6-1 last year, so we’re showing growth. But me and these guys want to know when the W’s are coming.”German exchange student Toby Bopp scored just nine minutes into his first game, giving Basalt the early lead. Bopp outran a defender on a run down the right side, controlled a pass from Kyle Wood, then flipped the ball over goalkeeper Skyler James’ hands and inches under the crossbar. Fifteen minutes later, Wood launched an indirect kick to the far post, and John Peckler hit the post. Basalt generated multiple scoring chances by applying pressure with its sharp passing but came away empty-handed.”It’s a little frustrating,” Eaton said. “We figured out how to play better as a team, and we picked it up a lot, but we still need to work on the finish.”
Coal Ridge squared the match in the 38th minute on a goal from inside the box. The Titans looked to go ahead after lining up for an indirect kick just outside the box with 10 minutes to play. The Basalt defense deflected the shot out of bounds and out of harm’s way. Then Eaton was golden in overtime. The Longhorns have had a flair for the dramatic early this season; Austin Long’s 58th-minute goal Thursday against Paonia helped Basalt escape with a 2-1 win.”I don’t want every game to be like this, but these close games are good for us,” McDermott said. “Winning nine to nothing and 10 to nothing doesn’t do us any good when we get to Denver.”Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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