Red Wolves clinch playoff spot with dramatic win over Ogden City SC
Park City tops Mountain Division after stoppage-time winner
In the waning moments of Sunday’s match, players were strewn across the field in disbelief. Many black-clad Ogden City SC players sank their faces into the ground, realizing their season was over. At the same time, the Park City players were either celebrating or putting their hands on their heads in sheer shock.
The emotionally exhausting final few minutes of the match involved three goals and monumental momentum shifts in the middle of a tight playoff race in the Mountain Division. In the end, Innocent Twishime’s game-winning goal in stoppage time secured three points for Park City with a 4-3 victory and a spot in the postseason after winning the Mountain Division.
“When it went wrong for us today, they just battled,” Park City Coach Scott Mackenzie said. “For us to stay that late in the game and go and get it, that’s about character and culture. What a group of guys, what a group of players.”
Trailing the Colorado Rush in the standings by just one point with two games in hand going into the game, a win would secure the Red Wolves a playoff spot, but a tie would mean the celebrations would have to wait a couple more days, making the emotional swings of Sunday’s match even more meaningful.
Park City controlled most of the first half but was kept off the board by a couple of key saves and misses. The Red Wolves finally scored the opening goal of the game in the 38th minute and took the 1-0 lead into halftime.
Red Wolves goalkeeper Ian Rose made two clutch saves in the first minute of the second half to keep Ogden City at bay. Just over 10 minutes later, a give-and-go put Red Wolves forward Luis Vargas in alone against the Ogden City goalkeeper. Vargas tucked the shot into the bottom right corner to double the Park City lead.
But Ogden City answered with not just one but two goals almost immediately. Midfielder Matt Lockwood scored in the 61st minute, and defender Nik Kizarian tied the game just three minutes later.
From there, both teams were desperately searching for a game-winning goal. The Red Wolves came close in the 70th minute when a Park City shot hit the crossbar and bounced out, only for a shot off the rebound to be rejected.
The Red Wolves found an answer in the 87th minute when forward Dyson Clapier found some space on the right wing on a counterattack. Clapier’s shot found the bottom-left corner of the net to seemingly ice the game for Park City.
However, Ogden City wouldn’t go away that easily. Rose made a save on a header off a corner kick, and a key blocked shot just a couple minutes later prevented a quality scoring chance. Finally, Ogden City scored off a corner kick in stoppage time to tie the game once again.
The closing moments of the match were sheer chaos. Rose made another save, and then down at the other end, the Red Wolves were furious that a penalty was not given on a tackle inside the 18-yard box. But an Ogden City turnover turned into another counterattack for Park City, and Twishime scored off a cross from the right wing to finally end the game.
“We had a choice to make — a point would have probably won it for us, but not for sure,” Mackenzie said. “We said no, we’re going to go and try to win this. We actually made changes at 3-2 to go and try to keep it tied, then they scored as the change was made. So we pushed it and had to adjust again and go for it.”
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