(This article was originally published on JMcDonaldMedia.com)
By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Both McKay and McNary boys soccer felt there was suppose to be a winner in Friday’s afternoon’s match at McKay High School instead of the 1-1 tie that resulted when the last whistle blew.
The Celtics were holding a 1-0 lead entering the final 20 minutes of the game from a first-half strike, the Scots slowly picked up steam and were in the McNary third of the field looking to tie the game up at one-apiece against the Top 10 team in the Celtics.
“We knew that they were going to come with high intensity because they’re coming off a tie with South (Salem) and from the first whistle we knew they were going to come all out. But we could do it too,” said McKay’s Yobeli Manzo. “Stay compact and smart, we knew they weren’t going to last the whole game, they were already tired at halftime and that’s when we picked it up.”
The Celtics matched the Scots intensity and physicality as the McNary defense found ways to keep McKay off the board with stops and saves.
“It’s a really tough game, I thought the team did an OK job but we really need to work on more on our defense better,” said the Celts Miguel Bravo. “There was no way we should have allowed that goal, especially there at the 10-yard. But defensively the team I feel like we can improve a little bit better and that’s what is going to get us through the playoffs hopefully.”
McNary has went 0-1-2 in their last three games after Friday’s game after starting the season 5-1-2.
Sebastian Lopez stopped Angel Altamirano shot at goal with seven minutes to go, Altamirano almost tied it a minute earlier but didn’t materialized into a 1 on the scoreboard.
With 3:10 left, Lopez found himself in a tough situation when Manzo was awarded a Penalty Kick, but the McNary Senior blocked the McKay Senior’s PK to force the Scots to beat him in a different fashion as Lopez blocked it with his right hand.
“We pretty much kept them out for the entire half, the whole second half,” said Lopez. “We were mostly defending because they were coming in hot with the high-pressure and everything. But other than the goal, everything leading up to it was good.”
What was to come was heartbreak for the Celtics whereas Manzo called it a redemption opportunity that he took full advantage of.
The Scots pushed the ball in off the corner and the ball found it’s way to the turf field below their feet. Both squads scrambled for the ball inside the 10-yard zone, eventually Manzo found his way to it and worked for his shot and got it to slip by Lopez with 2:51 remaining in the game to tie it up at one.
“The thing I learned about soccer is that it always brings chances. It always brings revenges and the thing I’ve always learned is never give up, there’s always a second chance. There’s always the next ball,” said Manzo. “There was two minutes left and I wasn’t going to give up until the final whistle.”
McNary had an opportunity prior to Manzo’s goal to take on an insurance goal during the constant pressure the Scots were giving, and it had McKay reeling a bit since they were bringing pressure all half long. But that was the lone chance for the Celtics as neither team picked up the decisive tiebreaking goal before time expired.