After going two-and-a-half games without scoring, the Park City High School boys' soccer team opened the floodgates Friday, picking up three second-half goals to knock off the Ogden Tigers, longtime 3A rivals who have moved up to play 4A this season. All three goals came with the Miners a man down because of a red-card violation early in the second half. The final score was 3-2.
Playing in the friendly surroundings of Dozier Field -- with walls of snow stacked behind both goals as a reminder that it was still officially winter -- the Miners started strong, dominating possession early in the game. It looked to be only a matter of time before they would find the back of the net.
But looks can be deceiving. It was the Tigers who opened the scoring with about 6:30 left in the first half. A corner kick was called at Park City's end and, before the Miners could react, Ogden forward Carlos Rodriguez had taken a perfectly-placed ball and headed it past Park City goalkeeper Charlie Urban.
"I thought the beginning of the game was excellent," said Jesse Blais, Park City's head coach. "We possessed the ball. We were moving very well. We were composed. And then, like in the past, we kind of just gave up -- gave up a corner kick, gave up a quick goal by not marking (the opposing players)."
Blais said the Miners have been slow to react to opponents' place kicks all season.
"We've had goals scored on us that way," he said. "We need to practice it, obviously. We're not marking tight enough. We're giving the other team too much space to do what they want to in front of the goal. I got on them pretty hard at halftime because we didn't finish off. I put in a lot of my second string at the end of that half just because we hadn't scored in two games, so I was looking for something different. Maybe motivate the older guys a little bit, too."
Whether it was those substitutions, Blais's impassioned halftime speech, or maybe even the red card, something lit a fire under the Miners in the second half.
Then, about six minutes later, Stray-Gundersen and Garrett Magie got behind the Ogden defenders near midfield and raced in alone on the Tigers' goal. Stray-Gundersen booted a low ball past the outstretched arms of the goaltender, putting the Miners ahead to stay.
Magie wrapped up the scoring for the Miners with a long free kick that dropped over the head of the Ogden goaltender.
With time running down, Ogden was awarded a free kick after a Miners' hand ball in front of the Park City goal. Charlie Urban made a great diving save to block the initial shot. However, the Miners were unable to clear the ball and Tigers' defender Christian Guzman beat Urban to make the final score 3-2.
After finishing the preseason with a record of 2-3, the Miners are scheduled to open their league schedule against Morgan on Monday, March 24. Game time is 3:30 p.m.