Two insurance goals in eight minutes to open the second half turned out to be the difference for the Rogers High boys soccer team.
The ninth-seeded Rams defeated No. 11 seeded Federal Way, 3-1, in an elimination match in the first round of the Class 4A West Central District tournament Tuesday night at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.
“Obviously that third (goal) was big because they were able to score late,” Rogers coach J.R. Farias said. “If we’re up 2-1, then all the sudden it gets crazy that last five minutes, and they can start sending things up.”
Thanks to Jose Valentin’s goal in the 48th minute — his seventh of the season — the Rams (12-3-2) avoided that scenario. He dribbled the ball from 25 yards out, cut back on a defender, and placed it in the back of the net to give Rogers a 3-0 lead.
“I feel like every goal was important ... the third one just helped to finish it off,” Valentin said.
Tanner Morris opened the scoring for Rogers in the 16th minute, burying a ball that ricocheted off Federal Way’s defense. Cooper Gray booted in the Rams’ second goal in the 43rd minute, and Valentin connected five minutes later.
Federal Way trimmed the deficit to 3-1 in the 75th minute off a header by Alejandro Verdusco that grazed goalkeeper Parker Elliott’s fingertips. But the Eagles squandered late opportunities and couldn’t get any closer.
“We just couldn’t keep the ball,” Federal Way coach Jason Baumgardt said. “Every time we were on the attack, we gave it away.”
The Rams play No. 6 seed Gig Harbor (12-2-2) — which finished second in the 4A Narrows behind Bellarmine Prep — in the second round at 7 p.m. Thursday at Stadium High School.
Jayce Kemp scored off a header in the 78th minute to break a 1-1 tie, and Connor Desmond added a goal on a penalty kick two minutes later to seal it.
Olympia travels to Curtis High School at 6 p.m. Thursday to play the No. 5 seed Vikings (8-7-1).