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AWC storms back against Phoenix
Almost three weeks after its shutout streak came to an end, the Arizona Western soccer team started another trend.
In the last two games, the Matadors have surrendered the first goal. But to the delight of coach Kenny Dale, AWC has been victorious in both.
Phoenix College jumped up on the Matadors, but Arizona Western scored the last four goals in a 4-1 win Tuesday at the AWC soccer field.
“There's always going to be mistakes and missteps,” Dale said. “It's going to be a matter of keeping your composure when things go bad. There was a threat we might go down 2-nil, but even at 2-nil you can still fight your way back into games.”
On Saturday at Paradise Valley, the Matadors (12-3 overall and Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) won 2-1 after surrendering the first goal to the Pumas. They did the same Tuesday against the Bears (8-4-3 overall and conference), but stormed back to maintain second place in the league and stay in the driver's seat for one of the two first-round byes and second-round home games in the NJCAA Region I playoffs.
After surrendering a goal to Ryo Sugihara in the 30th minute, the Matadors had a pair of open shots in front of Phoenix goalie Dallas Hunter, missing both with 5:55 left in the first half. But less than 30 seconds later Mario Soto hit the tying shot past Hunter.
AWC wasted little time taking the lead in the first half when Kofa grad Donal Landrum got the ball past Hunter, pushing it high and to the right post on an attack from the left side in the 48th minute.
Francisco Ramirez had a hand in two late insurance goals, connecting on an assist by Lupe Paz in the 60th minute, and assisting Arturo Valle on a one-timer from 20 yards out in the 69th.
“We never lost our heads,” Ramirez said. “We maintained our heads up, and the result was 4-1.”
The Matadors travel to Scottsdale Thursday before hosting Mesa at 7 p.m. Saturday. Dale said he would like his team to come out stronger than it has in its last two games.
“Paradise Valley was ahead of us 1-nil, so we need to concentrate a little more when we come out,” Dale said. “We need to come out and focus from the very beginning instead of giving up that first goal. But I was pleased with the way they responded.”