Trio of 2nd-half goals lifts Fruita Monument past Central
Sam Pflug made sure all the scoring chances the Fruita Monument High School boys soccer team got Wednesday night against Central turned into something positive.
Pflug’s penalty kick goal in the 57th minute helped the Wildcats break through against a previously impenetrable Central goalkeeper Alejandro Tarin, and Fruita tacked on two more goals during their 3-0 victory at Walker Field.
“Yeah, we had a lot of chances,” Pflug said. “But we knew a goal was coming. After getting that first goal, it’s almost like it opens up the floodgates. As soon as we got that one, everyone got going. We started passing batter. We started possessing better. We just started playing better.”
The Wildcats (7-7, 2-5 Southwestern League) dominated time of possession but weren’t able to find the net until well into the second half. That’s because Tarin, who finished with 10 saves, continually turned shots away to keep Central (1-12, 0-6) within striking distance until the final 10 minutes.
“He keeps us in games, and that’s all you can really ask of any goalie,” Central coach Doug Beach said. “Our team goal this year was to be competitive, and if it wasn’t for him, we might not be. He makes the kind of saves you don’t think anyone can make.”
Tyler Speer scored in the 69th minute and Caleb Ross added a goal in the final few minutes for Fruita, which had 20 total shots. Central only managed three total shots, with the only save from Fruita goalie Ryan McCloskey coming late in the second half.
Pflug’s penalty kick came after a rush on the net by Fruita’s Javier Agular, who collided with Tarin as he went after a ball in front of the net. Pflug scored into the bottom-right corner of the net to give the Wildcats the lead for good.
Ten minutes later, Speer juked three Central defenders and skimmed a shot through the defense and into the lower-right corner of the net. Ross tacked on his goal with less than 2 minutes remaining.
“Sometimes, all you need is one to get things going,” Fruita coach Ethan Johnson said. “We’ve been on the receiving end of games like that, so it’s nice to come out on this side of it.”
Grand Junction 2, Montrose 2: The Tigers, who had a chance to win the SWL championship outright with victories in their final two matches, hit a snag with their tie against the Indians (9-2-2, 3-1-2).
Even with a Grand Junction victory in its regular-season finale over Central on Oct. 18, Durango (8-2-2, 4-1-1) can tie the Tigers (11-2-1, 5-1-1) atop the league standings if the Demons close the regular season with home wins against Montrose and Central.