POTTSGROVE— Tied 1-1 in overtime against Pottsgrove, Scott Neal scored the game-winner off an assist from Matt Genuardi to give Perkiomen Valley a 2-1 Pioneer Athletic Conference victory Wednesday night, spoiling the Falcons' Senior Night.
With the win, Perkiomen Valley improves to 5-2-1 in the PAC-10 while Pottsgrove drops to 3-6-0. Perkiomen Valley is now 2.5 games behind Spring-Ford in the Liberty Division, while Pottsgrove sits atop the Frontier Division. At this point, it's important the Vikings take advantage of every game in order to stay in the hunt for their division.
"My guys always play hard no matter what,' said Perkiomen Valley head coach Bob McCabe. "I thought they were really resilient in coming back and being able to tie the game in the first half. Pottsgrove outpossessed us, which is completely different than how we've been playing all year long.'
The Falcons seemed to be in control for a majority of the game. They led in corners 7-3 as well as saves 9-7, and for a time it seemed like the Vikings could not get the ball past midfield.
Fifteen minutes into the game, Pottsgrove forward Ethan Abdalla scored off a throw-in that was not cleared by the defense to give his team an early 1-0 lead. This season, Abdalla has played a crucial role for the Falcons offense.
"He's been great to coach. He's just an awesome player with tons of talent, and he's very tough, strong and fast,' said Pottsgrove head coach Jay Witkowski.
In the 36th minute of the first half, Genuardi scored a breakaway goal for the Vikings after the ball was cleared by his goalie.
As the two teams were tied at halftime, it was clear that Pottsgrove had control of much of the first half, but it was Perkiomen Valley who found a way to close the half with an equalizer. The game seemed up for grabs for either team.
The Falcons played the second half equal to how they played the first — by constantly controlling the ball. Again, Pottsgrove created many opportunities to score, but struggled to find the back of the net when it mattered.
"Whenever we lose our possession, we always have a hard time in the game,' said coach McCabe. "If we can get possession and keep possession, we usually do a pretty good job.'
Although the Falcons held a majority of the possessions, the Vikings defense played tight and gave their opposition no easy chances to score.
Both teams kept pressing, but neither could create an open opportunity to score in the second half. With 0:25 left in regulation, Pottsgrove was awarded a corner kick. Kevin Rodriguez was able to get a head on it, but it hit off the crossbar and was then cleared by the Viking defense.
"We got a blessing from the soccer gods when that ball hit the crossbar or this could have been a completely different outcome' said coach McCabe.
Going into overtime, both teams were frustrated. The Vikings wanted to play tighter defense and clear the ball more efficiently. The Falcons wanted to take advantage of every opportunity that they earned on offense.
In overtime, the Vikings pressed hard to generate more chances than they had in regulation. In the seventh minute of the overtime period, Genuardi found teammate Neal across the middle. Neal put it past Pottsgrove keeper Teddy Calabretta for the game-winning goal.
For coach McCabe, it was a rare Perkiomen Valley team that took the field.
"Pottsgrove outpossessed us, which is completely different than how we've been playing all year long' he said. "We've been playing possession and not scoring on our opportunities. Today, they outpossessed us and sucked us into their up-and-down the field game. We managed to squeak out a goal at the end.'
"I thought we played well. We had a couple down games over the past two weeks and it didn't seem like the effort was there,' said coach Witkowski. "This was a game where I saw a lot of effort, and I told [our team] that we played well. I liked the way we played, I really liked our intensity. Soccer is a game where sometimes you get breaks, and sometimes you don't.'
With the win, Perkiomen Valley improves to 5-2-1 in the PAC-10 while Pottsgrove drops to 3-5-0.