MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

April 19, 2014

Roughers stay in postseason contention with win

Will a careless last minute of play prove costly for the Muskogee Roughers? Only time will tell.

Muskogee stayed in the hunt for a playoff spot by capturing a 4-2 win over Sand Springs in District 6A-3 soccer action Friday night at Muscogee Creek Nation Field at Indian Bowl. But there was an air of disappointment too.

The Roughers were cruising along with a 4-0 lead late in the game, but dropped their guard and allowed the Sandites to score twice in the final minute of play. It remains to be seen if the two goal differential will come back to haunt the Roughers should they end up in a tie for a playoff spot.

“That will make our final game against Yukon even more important now,” said MHS coach Shawn Riley.

The Roughers (6-3-1, 4-2) dominated against the winless Sandites from the beginning as Nathaniel Castro scored off a corner kick by David Espinoza with just over five minutes gone to stake Muskogee to a 1-0 lead. Just seven minutes later, it was Carlos Martinez finding the back of the net for the Roughers to make it 2-0 which is how it stood at intermission. Muskogee outshot Sand Springs 14-4 in the half and had a couple of near misses that might have increased the lead.

Four minutes into the second half, junior Chase Soper put on a nice reverse pivot at the top the goal box and rifled a shot past Sandite goalie Luis Villalforte to make it 3-0. Muskogee closed out their scoring on a beautiful cross by Roman Garcia to the head of Ernesto Martinez and into the goal to make it 4-0 with 17:24 to play.

With the game winding down, the Roughers’ defense got careless and allowed goals by Alan Armstrong and John Grayson in the last minute of play which led to a simple observation by Riley.

“When we make the game simple and easy and do what we’re asked to do, we make the game look beautiful,” he said. “But when we want to put too many touches on the ball and play our own way, we make the game harder than it needs to be.”

Espinoza had a solid game for Muskogee as he kept feeding corner kicks into the box and giving his team good opportunities, but he sure would like to have seen the shutout stay intact.

“We wanted to come out and have a clean sheet tonight, but stuff happens and now we’re going to have to work harder against Yukon,” said the  senior.

The regular season ends next Thursday as the Roughers host Yukon needing a win to hopefully nail down a playoff spot.

“If we win, we help ourselves out,” said Riley. “If everything goes well, we should finish third in the district. There’s a big game left and anything can happen, but a win will go a long way towards landing a playoff spot.”

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