Halfway through the Foothill League slate, Hart boys soccer traveled to Saugus to take on the Centurions on Tuesday.
Sitting in third place in the league standings, Saugus looked determined to move up in the standing and it showed early.
Scoring his 13th goal of the season, Saugus’ Dylan Sullivan was able to jumpstart the Centurions with a goal in the opening minutes of the first half to give Saugus the advantage early.
Battling back, Hart used two Joseph Ochoa goals, one in each half, to come back and defeat Saugus 2-1 on Tuesday
“It puts us right there next to the team in first so it puts the pressure on them,” said Hart head coach Adonay Jovel. “For us, it’s mainly putting pressure on the teams that are ahead of us and then from there we still have to play Saugus again.”
After Sullivan scored the early goal, Hart (10-6-3 overall, 3-0-2 in Foothill League) seemed a bit disheveled going down so early, but thanks to high-energy play from Ochoa and Jose “Peru” Fuentes, the Indians were able to build off their play.
With two minutes to go, Hart finally capitalized. From about 20 yards out, Ochoa stood in the middle of the pitch with a clear shot to the goal. He collected a ball and took a shot, blasting it into the top left corner of the goal.
“It means a lot because we treated this game like a final,” Ochoa said. “We wanted to win really bad and it showed in the results.”
At the turn, Saugus (8-5-3, 2-2-1) ramped up its attack as Sullivan, Dionicio Flores and Connor Claborn pushed forward, vying for the go-ahead goal.
Seventeen minutes into the half, Claborn took a shot that Hart goalkeeper Lucas Enriquez was able to get a hand on to make the save. The result was a Saugus corner that in which Johnson was able to corral the ball on the back post and take a shot, but once again Enriquez came up with the big save getting a foot to the ball.
“That’s exactly how we create our opportunities,” said Saugus head coach Seth Groller. “Connor’s shot, I thought for sure it was going in. Great save by their keeper.”
Just as the clock read two minutes, Hart mounted one last attack.
Building off the left side of the pitch, Fuentes passed a ball to Ochoa, who was waiting at the edge of the 18-yard box. Striking it from distance, Ochoa netted the go-ahead goal and his second of the game to seal the come-from-behind win for Hart.
“Joseph came in and had a lot of energy,” Jovel said. “This is one of his best games where we dribbled, passed and shot very well. Peru hasn’t been playing much because he’s been out of shape, but now he’s getting back into form and he is a big part of this team.”
With the win, Hart moves into a tie with Valencia for first-place in the Foothill League while Saugus drops to fourth.
Both teams are back in action on Friday with Hart hosting Golden Valley at 3:15 p.m. Saugus travels to Valencia to take on the Vikings at 6:30 p.m.
Canyon 2, Valencia 2
Harrison Davis and Donovan Hernandez scored the two goals for Canyon. Edward Quijano and Israel Miranda tallied the assists.
With the tie, Canyon moves into second place in Foothill League standings. Valencia falls into a tie with Hart atop the standings.