La Cueva’s boys varsity soccer team ended its first Albuquerque Metro Championships match against Valley in a 1-1 draw on Tuesday.
The Bears dominated the midfield and maintained a good chunk of the possession throughout the game, but the Vikings’ defense and a strong counterattack kept the game even. Both teams fought hard in the first half with La Cueva working the through balls and crosses while Valley opted for the long ball. Both sides had a few attempts at goal, but neither team could get the ball into the net, ending the first half with a score of 0-0.
The beginning of the second half looked a lot like the first until La Cueva scored on a controversial penalty kick. Valley’s keeper did his job coming out for a clean sliding save, but the ref didn’t see it that way, ultimately deciding to give the penalty kick to the Bears. Despite the Vikings’ No. 1 playing a stellar game, he was not able to make the save, giving La Cueva a one-goal lead.
After the penalty kick, the intensity of the game picked up a notch with both teams fighting hard to win the ball. La Cueva continued to pick away at the goal, keeping the action on Valley’s side of the field for much of the second half. The Bears couldn’t crack Valley’s solid defense and goalkeeping, though, and a quick breakaway provided the Vikings an opportunity to even the score.
The counterattack left the Bears scrambling to get back on defense with the Vikings quick to take advantage and rip one in the back of the net. Both teams kept fighting to get another goal, but time ran out when the final whistle blew, ending the game in a 1-1 draw.
“The metro is always a great start to the season, to see where you kinda are at. We just need to be smarter with the ball in both aspects of the game. Defense and offensive,” said Easy Jimenez, La Cueva’s head coach. “We need to win Saturday against Volcano Vista, which is a tough team, to get to the semis.”
La Cueva takes on West Mesa in its second match of the tournament at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25. The game will be on Field 1 of the APS Soccer Complex. La Cueva’s girls varsity soccer team plays Valley at 4:30 p.m. today, Aug. 24. That game will be on Field 3 of the APS Soccer Complex.
For more information on the Metro Championships, visit aps.edu/athletics/albuquerque-metro-championships.