By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
The first-place Hart Indians (7-1-4, 7-0-3) took on the depleted Canyon Cowboys (6-5-4, 3-4-4), who were down two of their starters but still managed to squeak in a 1-1 tie on Saturday.
The Indians dominated the time of possession and shots at goal, but were unable to capitalize with near-miss shots while the Cowboys needed just one opportunity to score.
“The team played well but we just couldn’t put the ball inside the net,” said Indians’ head coach Gio Salinas. “That has been the story of the season. At the end of the day, if you don’t score you can’t win games. All it takes is one opportunity and all of a sudden with the one opportunity they had, they were able to score. We got too comfortable being up 1-0.”
The game started off with the Indians dominating on both sides of the ball. The Indians were getting any shot they wanted at the goal while keeping the ball on primarily on one side of the field.
The dominant possession of the ball would eventually pay off with the first score of the game coming from Trent Rickard at the 11-minute mark. The score would come off a ricochet kick from Gustavo Valadez.
The Cowboys needed an answer and in the second half would turn up the intensity. The Indians seemed to get comfortable and the Cowboys soon got more shots at the goal, although not too many.
All the Cowboys needed was one goal and at the 22-minute mark, the Cowboys got their answer from Dimitri Marikta. Marikta would take the ball for himself from out of bounds, drive it right into the middle and launch a line-drive kick right into the net from 20 yards out for the final score of the game.
With time still left to be played, the Indians turned back on the aggression with six painstaking misses near the goal with the Cowboys hanging on for dear life. The Cowboys would only achieve two more shots at the goal the rest of the game.
With no answer from either team, the match ended in a dramatic draw.
“We played with a lot of heart, especially in a second half filled with intensity,” said Cowboys head coach Robert Benavidez. “Hart is a great program so going down 1-0 could’ve easily made us give up. They had 40 minutes left to play so they just had to leave it on the field. I asked them to give everything on the field and they were rewarded with a 1-1 tie. Hats off to Hart for having such a great program.”