Josh De Leon scored for Saugus and pumped his fists.
Luis Valadez scored for Hart and performed a nifty dance move.
But by the end of a 1-1 tie at Saugus High on Friday, there was no real reason for celebration as both teams fell further behind first-place Valencia with only four games remaining in Foothill League play.
Saugus (10-5-4 overall, 4-1-1 in Foothill) entered the day three points behind the Vikings, and Hart (13-5-3, 3-2-1) came in six back.
With Valencia’s 1-0 win over West Ranch on Friday, each team fell two more points back.
Both coaches felt Friday was a must win. But…
“I’ll be the first to say any team can beat any other team,” said Saugus coach Seth Groller, implying he hadn’t given up hope on the Centurions’ first league title since 2008.
Boys soccer: FINAL. Hart 1, Saugus 1. pic.twitter.com/HxiWh3dqdy
— Signal Sports (@SignalSports) January 28, 2017
Hart coach Adonay Jovel was less optimistic.
“We had to beat them if we want to think about a league championship,” he said. “A tie for both of us is like a loss and a loss of the title. That’s it.”
The Indians, who tied the score 1-1 in the 60th minute on the Valdez goal, are now focused on building momentum toward playoffs.
“I think we’ll make a run in playoffs. You never know, but I don’t see us losing in first round like last year,” Jovel said.
Saugus made the quarterfinals last year behind forward James Johnson’s All-CIF performance.
Johnson missed Friday’s game due to a non-soccer-related injury he suffered to his foot earlier in the day.
Still, Saugus got on the board first when Collin Infuso sent a stellar cross into the 18-yard box.
De Leon, wide open, headed the ball off the right post and into the goal.
“He was yelling for the ball in the middle. I heard him call for it,” Infuso, who didn’t appear to be looking at De Leon, said of knowing where his teammate would be.
Matt Sayers made six saves for the Centurions, none bigger than his deflection of Michael Valencia’s shot from close range in the second half.
Jacob Tomaszewski made four saves for the Indians, who came in ranked No. 4 in the latest CIF-Southern Section Division 4 poll. Saugus had been No. 10 in the same poll but fell off the list this week.
Valencia 1, West Ranch 0
Josh Ferguson scored for the Vikings (13-2-3, 6-0).
Golden Valley 2, Canyon 0
Parker House scored both goals for the Grizzlies (2-11-2, 1-4-1).
Canyon is 0-14-5, 0-5-1.