The Rogers boys soccer team needed to avoid any miscues to keep up with Puyallup in the 4A South Puget Sound League South Conference race for first place.
“If we want to get over the hump, we have to finish this thing out today and through Friday,” Rogers coach J.R. Farias said before the game. “We have to play smart out there.”
But mistakes cost the second-place Rams anyway as third-place Federal Way (10-3-2) took a 2-1 victory Tuesday at Sparks Stadium that ended Rogers’ (10-2-3) hopes of winning the league championship.
Puyallup clinched the SPSL South title in the nightcap at Sparks after defeating Graham-Kapowsin, 5-0.
“I told my guys coming in that this is playoff soccer now,” Eagles coach Jason Baumgardt said. “We’re getting healthy and now’s the time to get this thing going. ... It’s good that we’re peaking now.”
The Rogers back line and Rams goalkeeper were caught off guard in the 6th minute, when they thought Federal Way forward Corey Kim was caught offside — Kim kept his composure and batted down a loose ball before launching a free shot into the goal to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
“They can’t do that and get caught holding their arms up like they do in (professional soccer),” Farias said. “They have to ignore the ref and keep playing.”
Federal Way jumped up 2-0 in the 16th minute after Joseph Decena slipped a penalty kick into the low corner, just out of a diving Fredrickson’s reach. The Eagles were granted the penalty after a Rogers defender was called for grabbing Eagle midfielder Chris Williams.
The Rams’ goal came just before halftime, when Floyd’s curving cross froze Eagles goalie Alek Lileskare and allowed Colin Mayes an easy open goal header to reduce the lead to 2-1.
Valentin and Floyd kept Federal Way on its heels as they helped the Rams dominate the second half, striking 12 shots with seven of them on goal.
Rogers had several chances to tie the game in the late going — the first came when Floyd found Mayes open on the left side of the box, but he couldn’t get a good touch on the ball as his volley smacked off the top of the goalpost.
Another opportunity came on a Valentin penalty kick in the 60th minute, but Lileskare demonstrated good strength and pushed the ball away from Federal Way’s box.
Rogers came away with a positive message from the defeat, however.
“If we work together, we can be tough,” Valentin said. “If we can do that, we can go far in state.”firstname.lastname@example.org