Goals in the final 20 minutes by Zach Smith and Cristian Hernandez enabled Carson to salvage a point with a 2-2 deadlock against visiting Galena Saturday afternoon.
The tie dropped Carson to 6-2-1 on the season. Pending the Wooster score, the teams will be tied for first going into next week’s action. Carson hosts Reed on Wednesday and visits Manogue on Saturday. Carson will play the Reed game without defender Carlos Alvarado, who missed the final 28 minutes after picking up his second yellow card. Carson played from that point with 10 players.
Despite the late heroics from Smith and Hernandez, who scored his 10th goal of the season, Carson coach Mehdi Samii felt it was the Grizzlies and not his Senators who were lucky to escape with a point.
“They are fortunate,” Samii said. “They got a fluke goal early. That was our own fault (for not continuing to play). I can’t put my finger on it, but we have to find a way to play 80 minutes. Except for North Valleys, we haven’t played a whole 80 minutes. To go for two goals and playing with just 10 players, I feel good about (the game).”
“When we show up, we don’t have the right mindset; we’re not ready to play,” Smith said. “I think that’s a huge part of it.”
Galena got on top early on a disputed goal. Carson players thought a ball had rolled out of bounds and stopped playing. Henry Zarate pounded one past Gustavo Villagrana. The goal was upheld after the center official conferred with his linesman on the Galena side of the field. That decision upset the Carson, players and fans.
The fans got even more irate in the 25th minute when Ryan Galvan was pulled down and no whistle blew. Carson’s last good look in the first half was when Hernandez ripped a free kick above the crossbar.
Alvarado departed in the 52nd minute, and seven minutes later, Zarate scored his second goal of the match to make it 2-0. A Carson fan was kicked out of the stands for unsportsmanlike comments after Alvarado was ejected.
Smith made it a 2-1 game, and then in the 77th minute, Hernandez tucked one into the left corner to tie the match.
Samii was impressed by the play of his four captains — Smith, Hernandez, Adam Shoaf and Miguel Ortiz. Shoaf and Hernandez didn’t start because they arrived to the game late because of SAT testing.
In a defensive struggle, Galena and Carson battled to a scoreless tie. It was Carson’s second straight scoreless tie, coming on the heels of a scoreless draw against Douglas on Tuesday.
Carson is now 7-0-2 heading into Tuesday’s home match against Reed at 7 p.m.
“Galena is a good team, and we knew they were a good team,” Carson coach Greg Lehman said. “We knew we had to come out and play our best game to beat them, and we didn’t do that. We had opportunities to score, but couldn’t finish. We didn’t find feet with our passes. When you don’t do that, it’s tough to get the ball into the final third of the field.”
Lehman admitted that his team might be suffering from “the homecoming blues”. Lehman said illness (three players with strep throat) and homecoming activities forced players to miss practices at one time or another this week. He pointed out that Carson faces a difficult stretch of games against Reed, Spanish Springs and Bishop Manogue.
Unofficially, Galena outshot Carson 9-6. Galena’s Brooke Cherry had three shots on goal in the first half. In the 38th minute, Cherry ripped a shot that Karla Reyes deflected over the crossbar. Cherry had three more shots in the second half, but was unable to convert. One was a wide-open opportunity from 15 yards.
Carson had two good looks in the opening minutes of the second half, but neither Reyes or Valerie Sue Meyer were able to convert. Reyes was moved to forward in the second half in an effort to generate more offense.