The Eureka Loggers are definitely getting better.
On Wednesday evening, they responded to a tough one-goal loss to Fortuna over the weekend with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over an in-form McKinleyville team.
“It was a hell of a battle,” head coach Eddie Garcia said. “Their midfield definitely made our midfield work for it. They put us to the test more than any other team.”
Jesse Bravo netted twice in the win, the first coming on a 25-yard shot to give his team a two-goal first-half advantage.
The second came after the interval, when he headed home from a David Parra cross to re-establish the Loggers’ two-goal advantage.
“It was probably his best game all year,” Garcia said of Bravo.
The Panthers certainly didn’t make things easy on the home team, pulling within a goal on a penalty kick late in the first half, and then catching the Loggers on the counter attack to make it 3-2 with 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Logan Maher scored both McKinleyville goals.
“It was definitely a battle and definitely a good game to watch,” said Garcia, whose team held on late to seal the win.
Jesus Parra was hugely influential once again in the heart of defense, filling in at the back for the second straight game because of injuries.
Luis Romero opened the scoring early in the game on an unassisted strike, while teammates Ty Bauer and David Parra each assisted on Bravo’s goals.
Bravo, David Parra and Tomas Paoli all played well in the center of the field for the Loggers in a matchup of two of the best midfield units in the H-DNL.
For McKinleyville, Lalo Benavides-Garb had a huge game in an otherwise disappointing team outing early on.
“Really, the first 25 minutes it was probably the worst soccer I’ve seen us play, just the communicating and general play,” head coach Ryne Deppe said. “But at the very end of the game, when we had our backs to the walls, we finally found that grit and it was the first time I’ve really seen that.
“Lalo was finally back to all I’ve wanted to see from him this year. The game, he took it into his own hands. I’m so proud of him.”
Eureka improved to 3-4, while McKinleyville dropped to 4-3.
Arcata 5, South Fork 0
Arcata captain Dillon Rouse turned in a man of the match performance as the Tigers got back to winning ways.
A young Arcata team was coming off back-to-back losses to McKinleville, but quickly put that behind it with a comfortable win over the Cubs.
In addition to Rouse, who has been a consistent presence at the back all season, Ethan Gyenis also had a big game, scoring twice and assisting on two other goals.
Lucien Steinkamp, Miles Kraemer and Kayin Kloberdanz each also scored in the win.
The Tigers improved to 3-3.