As the boys’ soccer season winds towards the final week of the season, No. 3 Phoenix Greenway came to No. 4 Sunrise Mountain in a battle of top 4A teams with major playoff expectations on the line for both teams. But a blown call by the referees in the final seconds of double overtime cost the Mustangs a win, as the Demons escaped with a 2-1 victory Jan. 16 at Sunrise Mountain High School.
After nearly 100 minutes of soccer, Greenway was attacking when the Demons’ Cesar Sanchez chased down a loose ball in the corner, fired a centering pass at the net where Derek Fournier was clearly behind the Mustangs defense and tipped the ball into the back of the net just past Mustangs goaltender Connor Froysland.
Fournier appeared to be offside, but the referees made no call as Sunrise Mountain head coach Bob Hossain asked for the referees to make the call.
“That was clear off sides,” Hossain said. “The guy was camping out behind our defense. The (side referee) told me that she was right there, but he was clearly off sides and I believe they robbed us in the final 50 seconds.”
Hossain argued and asked the side ref to ask the lead ref, but was told he was going with the side ref’s call.
“Unfortunately, that is high school soccer and you can’t talk to the referees, especially since I have been told that (Greenway) has won a game or two before tonight by doing the same thing,” Hossain said. “But, don’t get me wrong, we had too many missed chances during the game to where we should have won this game. But, without that last call, we should have at least left here with a tie.”
Sunrise Mountain (11-2-0 overall, 2-1 in West Valley section) opened the game dominating offensively, attacking the net with six shots early that just missed. Tanner Lattie had a shot five minutes into the game when he fired one that was knocked away by Greenway (9-3, 3-0) goalkeeper Riley Widney. James Hansen got the rebound about 25 yards out and fired a shot that Widney knocked away to keep the game scoreless.
The Mustangs broke through 13 minutes into the game when Cameron Burns lofted a long pass down the sideline to a breaking Hansen, who took the ball and fired a shot into the bottom left past a diving Widney.
“That was a great pass from Burns and Hansen just raced to the ball and got off a great shot,” Hossain said. “That was just a great play that we took advantage of to get on the board first.”
The game stayed tied until the final minute of the first half. Then, Greenway’s Trevor Swartz fired a throw-in towards the net where Fournier tipped the ball that bounced off the cross-bar and dribbled into the net as the game ended the first half tied at one.
“Tough goal to defend when they get a little tip that just gets past (Froysland) and there wasn’t much he could do on that one,” Hossain said.
Thirteen minutes into the second half, Andy Robertson was driving toward the net when he was tripped, giving the Mustangs a penalty kick.
Cameron Burns took the kick and fired the ball towards the left side of the net, but Greenway goalkeeper Riley Widney guessed right to make a diving save.
“That was the turning point and it was at that point that we kind of felt it wasn’t going to be our night,” Hossain said.
The two teams battled back and forth in the closing minutes of regulation, with both teams having shots to win in regulation, but both Froysland and Widney made big saves to force overtime.
The Mustangs have three games remaining (as of press time) and Hossain, while disappointed with the loss, knows his team will turn it around and finish strong.
“I know my boys will finish strong and get ready to host a first-round playoff game, which has been my goal all year,” Hossain said. “We are sitting fourth right now and I honestly believe we should finish the season among the top three teams.”