Humboldt’s premier 19U boys soccer travel team pulled off a pair of impressive ties over the weekend, with some of their best soccer of the season.
Playing out of the Mendocino Soccer Academy, the 19U Eagles tied a pair of highly-ranked teams, including a dramatic 3-3 game on Saturday against Santa Rosa Gold, the No. 26 team in California.
The Eagles followed that a day later with a 0-0 tie against Santa Rosa Athletico, the No. 16 team in the state.
The Eagles came into the weekend ranked 119th in the state, and both games were played in Santa Rosa.
“This last weekend was the first time the boys realized they could play with (Athletico),” Eagles assistant coach Tim Olson said. “And they decided to square their shoulders and fight back, and they had good results.”
In what the coach described as their best team effort of the season, the Eagles almost snuck the win with a couple of Sergio Marquez chances that just missed.
“Especially on Sunday, it was a whole team effort,” Olson said. “We only had two subs, and the boys really stepped up.”
Saturday’s game came right down to the wire, with a pair of injury-time goals.
The home team battled back from a two-goal halftime deficit and took the lead in the first minute of injury time, only to see the visitors answer immediately on an Andy Miranda goal to secure the draw.
Marquez assisted on the late goal.
Benicio Benavides-Garb and Marquez each scored in the first half to give the Eagles a two-goal lead at the interval, before the heat began to take its toll on a small roster with just the two substitutes to call on.
Caleb Coke provided the assist on Marquez’s goal.
With the two ties, the Eagles are now 6-2-2 on the season and 4-0-2 in league play, and currently sit third in the standings.
If the Eagles win their final two league games next weekend, including at league leaders Marin, they will clinch the league championship.
Marin is unbeaten and ranked No. 12 in California.
The Eagles also play at Richmond.