Last-second goal by Gomez lifts Montrose past Junction
It’s the opportunity Eliseo Gomez, or any soccer player for that matter, dreams about when he goes to sleep at night.
It’s a tie game, time is running out, there’s a chance for probably only one more decent shot on goal.
You kick the game winner.
Gomez got to live out that dream Tuesday at Canyon View Park.
The Montrose High School sophomore forward got a one-on-one chance against Grand Junction goalkeeper Caleb Ealey with only seconds remaining in regulation and made it count, giving the Indians a 3-2 victory over the Tigers.
The victory put Montrose (6-3, 5-0 Southwestern League) alone atop the SWL standings.
Ironically, when Gomez set himself for the shot, the one he ended up taking wasn’t the one he envisioned.
“I was looking for the far post,” Gomez said of the shot he took from just right of the net.
The ball snuck in low just inside the near post, but at that point, Gomez didn’t care.
“I was just kicking it,” he said.
Early on, it appeared as if Montrose wouldn’t have to worry about a last-minute shot. The Indians scored their first two goals before the seven-minute mark.
Hector Almanza stunned the Tigers one minute, 20 seconds in after dribbling right, stopping in front of the goal, circling and shooting into the lower-left corner.
Less than six minutes later, Ricky Zatarain took a pass left of the goal and scored, once again in the lower left corner.
“The bottom line, they just weren’t awake,” Grand Junction coach Stephen Latta said of his team.
“(Montrose) had the bus ride but we looked like the ones who’d had the bus ride.”
The Tigers (6-2, 4-1 SWL), who didn’t take their first shot on goal until the 25th minute, woke up, and when Brendan Ryan was tripped just outside the goal box with 6 minutes remaining in the half,
Grand Junction had its best chance. Tim Hofer took the penalty shot and connected in the lower right corner.
“I knew they had the composure,” Latta said of his team’s capacity to recover from the Indians’ quick start.
Less than 10 minutes into the second half, the Tigers tied the game when Hofer passed to Ryan on the left side. Ryan dribbled left, then scored left-to-right.
At that point, Latta said, his team got caught in what he calls “boot ball,” kicking the ball down the field without trying to control it.
“We got stuck in their game and they beat us at their game,” Latta said.
Montrose coach Jim Lewis was happy to take a victory from Canyon View Park.
“We haven’t been able to win clean all year,” Lewis said, despite his team’s record. “That’s the most complete game we’ve had all season and we knew we had to have it against Junction.”