A resilient Valley Catholic team just wouldn’t give up Thursday night at CMH Field.
The Valiants overcame deficits of 1-0 and 2-1, and scored a late goal to salvage a 2-2 tie with the Fishermen, in a key Cowapa League boys soccer showdown.
With hopes of catching Seaside atop the league standings, the Fishermen played a dominant first half against the Valiants, who had defeated Astoria 5-2 in the first meeting.
And it took Astoria less than two minutes to jump on the scoreboard in Thursday’s meeting, as Aldo Cruz dropped a short pass to freshman Josh Condit, who outmaneuvered a pair of Valley Catholic defenders to score from close range past Valiant keeper Connor Matto, just one minute, 27 seconds into the game.
Unfortunately for the Fishermen, that was their only goal of the half, despite numerous fouls on the Valiants inside their own 30-yard line.
Matto made saves on a pair of free kicks by Cole Beeson, and made another stop on a free kick by Jonathan Jimenez.
At the other end of the field, Valley Catholic’s Rylan Torres was wide right on an attempt with 14:00 left in the half, and a free kick by Nicolas Tubito banged off the left post with 1:30 remaining.
The Valiants came out with a more aggressive offensive attack to start the second half, with three shots on goal to Astoria’s one over the first 12 minutes.
Fishermen goalkeeper Jake Hurd made the save on all three Valiant shots, while Matto managed to knock down an Astoria shot-on-goal by Gustavo Velazquez, and later made saves on free kicks by Beeson.
The first goal of the second half belonged to the Valiants.
With 19:11 remaining in the game, Ethan Hough’s crossing pass found teammate Jake Saito, whose low shot from 10 yards out found the back of the net for a 1-1 tie.
But less than two minutes later, the fouls caught up with the Valiants.
Astoria was fouled in the penalty area on a corner kick, and Jimenez converted the penalty kick to put the Fishermen back in front.
The final 17:55 was nearly a stalemate, but moments after a corner kick by the Valiants, a short crossing pass resulted in a goal off a header by Torres, with just 3:21 showing on the clock.
Condit nearly had a game-winner for the Fishermen, but his shot on goal in the closing seconds deflected off the left post.
Astoria hosts its third straight home game Tuesday, against No. 3-ranked Seaside. The two teams battled to a 2-2 tie in the previous Clatsop Clash, Sept. 23 at Seaside.