By Ray Hamill — The top two teams in the H-DNL faced off at Arcata High on Wednesday afternoon and they didn’t disappoint with an exciting and well-played game.
League leaders Fortuna trailed by a pair of goals in the first half but would rally to pull out a 2-2 tie, with Hector Diaz netting a fantastic equalizer a few minutes from time.
In other league games on Wednesday, Del Norte defeated South Fork 9-0 and Eureka got the better of St. Bernard’s 13-0, while McKinleyville had a bye.
However, a penalty kick by Adrian Magana pulled the visitors within one and gave them some momentum heading into the break.
“We played a poor first half and we were sluggish,” Fortuna head coach Daniel Homes said. “But we made some adjustments at halftime.”
It worked for the Huskies, and their second-half pressure paid off when Diaz netted the late equalizer from the edge of the box.
Arcata head coach John Davidson took the blame for the late letdown.
“With more experience I could have made the right adjustments to our system,” he said. “And if I could have been a little more alert and proactive as a coach with making changes to shape and game model we could have won.”
“Going down 2-0 and finding a way to get back into it (impressed me),” he said.
He was also impressed with the play of Grosveld, whom Davidson has described as the best player in the league.
“He’s a talented young man and composed on the ball,” the longtime Fortuna head coach said. “And he had a good game.”
With the tie, which wasn’t a bad result for either team, little has changed at the top of the standings.
The Huskies are now 4-1-1 in league play, with the Tigers right on their heels at 3-1-2.
Check out Hector Diaz’s late equalizer at Arcata above …
The two frontrunners will meet again in Fortuna in 10 days in a game that should go a long way toward deciding this year’s championship.
Del Norte also remained in the mix for a league championship and has won three straight games to go to 3-2 in the standings.
On Tuesday there was little between the Warriors and the Cubs early on, with the Del Norte boys leading by just two goals at halftime before pulling away in the second half.
Tomas Paoli had two goals and a pair of assists for the Loggers, who took control with eight first-half goals, while teammate Luke Hernandez added two goals and an assist.
After playing five of their first six league games away from home (and 13 of 14 total games this season), the Loggers will now play four straight games at Albee Stadium as they look to remain in contention for a league championship.
The Eureka boys are now 3-2-1 in what is shaping up to be a very competitive league, with the top five teams all on either three or four wins halfway through the schedule.
Next up, on Saturday, McKinleyville plays at Eureka, Arcata travels to St. Bernard’s and Del Norte hosts Fortuna in another key showdown.