By Patrick Dillon @pdillon_sgn
FARMERSVILLE – Farmersville entered this week with a chance to, at least, share the East Sierra League (ESiL) title. It only required that they do something that they have struggled with all season: finishing. The scoring opportunities were numerous for the Aztecs on Monday night, Feb. 5, against first-place Orosi. However, the team’s inability to finish was plain to see as Farmersville drew a 1-1 with Orosi in overtime, resulting in the Aztecs’ second-place finish.
“We knew that if Orosi got a win or tie here tonight, then it sealed the deal for them,” Farmersville head coach Michael Jordan said. “We are definitely disappointed that we did not finish in the chances that we had.”
From the opening kickoff until the final whistle, the Farmersville Aztecs (11-6-6, 6-1-2) determined the pace of the game. Early on, it looked as if they were going to be able to finish. Just four minutes into the match, Jacob Gomez scored the lone goal for Farmersville on an attack up the middle. He brought the ball past the Orosi defense and into the penalty box. As the Cardinal goal keeper came out to make a save, Gomez redirected the ball along the ground and over the goal line.
What followed was a relentless offensive attack by Farmersville. In the first half, the Aztecs had 12 solid scoring chances. Many of the shots on goal produced a rebound opportunity where the Aztecs were in position to score, but those chances were often knocked wide, over the net or straight to the Cardinals’ keeper.
The Aztecs’ lack of finishing allowed the Orosi Cardinals (13-9-5, 7-0-2) to begin building up some momentum. Their three scoring chances at the end of the first half produced some solid play in the second. In the 18th minute, Orosi scored off a set piece from 30 yards out. When the ball was kicked into the box, it bounced from the head of one Cardinal player to the foot of a teammate along the near side. With everyone on the other side of the box, the Cardinal forward had an empty net to shoot for. With the goal, the score became 1-1.
“Once we gave up that goal, we could feel it slipping away,” Jordan said.
In the overtime periods, the Aztecs continued to control the ball more often than the Cardinals. Most of the time, they attacked up the sides of the field, but their crossing passes were barley contested for. Jordan noted that his team had close to 25-30 total scoring chances in this game.
Even though the league title is out of reach, all is not lost for the Aztecs. With a winning overall record, they have qualified for the D-V playoffs. To play in a pressure-packed game such as the playoffs, the Aztecs will have an investigative look at the post season.
First, though, the Aztecs must finish up ESiL play. Tonight, Farmersville will travel to play the McFarland Cougars at 6 p.m.