The teams faced off in a non-league match at Spanish Springs Tuesday and the results were interesting. The Sparks Railroaders, who had not lost yet this season, were handed their first defeat by the winless Cougars in a 2-1 decision.
“It’s like a championship,” Spanish Springs coach Rob Moreland said on his team’s first win of the season.
The Cougars came away elated after their first win of the season. On the oter hand, Sparks returns to the pitch to play at 3A North League rival Whittell Thursday, with a bad taste in their mouths after the unexpected outcome.
“We played low pressure and it turned them into playing kickball,” Moreland said. “They couldn’t dribble past us because we were already back so they started playing kickball and that wasn’t their game.”
Spanish Springs (1-6-1, 0-5) got a quick goal to help it gain some early composure against the Railroaders. In the 19th minute, Erwin Soto picked apart Sparks’ defense as he drove through the middle and got a nice touch off before sending in his shot.
“It was a good game,” Sparks coach Frank Avilla said. “Spanish Springs came to play today.
The Cougars second goal came on a set play late in the half. Victor Byers was on the receiving end of a short played corner kick and dished it off to the back post where Irvin Somera was waiting patiently. He got the well played header into the corner of the net for a 2-0 halftime lead.
“We defended a lot better than we have,” Moreland said. “We didn’t dive in as much. We covered each other because they’re good dribblers and a good passing team. If you dive in, you’re dead.
Sparks (8-1-2, 1-0-1 Lake) was not ready to give up quite yet. Five minutes into the second half, Juan Gonzalez juked his way through the Spanish Springs’ defense and got in a blast of a shot to put some pressure on Spanish Springs, leaving the margin at 2-1.
“We had our shots,” Avilla said. “In the first half, I felt they beat us. In the second half, we outplayed them. We beat them. We just didn’t get our timely scores. We didn’t finish when we needed to.”
The squads held the score through the exciting match, with both good defense and offense from both sides.
“This is one of the games we filled in. It’s a fun game,” Avilla said. “I’m happy for them .... We don’t count that. This isn’t a league game. It’s a non-league game. My hat’s off to them. They played a great game. It’s different outcome if we’re going strong.”
Sparks will play its third game in as many days today at Whittell in a 3A North Lake League affair at 4:30 p.m.
The Cougars will play Saturday at McQueen at 1 p.m.
•The Reed Raiders also came away with a victory in boys prep 4A High Desert League action Tuesday.
The Raiders took a 2-0 win over Reno to push their league record to 3-0-2 (overall 6-4-3).
“We played the best game we have played all year, finally,” Reed coach Jeff Valentine said.
Reed scored in the 23rd minute on a K.C. Campbell unassisted goal.
“The first minute to the 80th minute we played with intensity. We controlled the whole game. We dominated it,” Valentine said.
Ricardo Martinez iced things for Reed with a score in the 78th minute, helped by Romero Sandoval for the 2-0 win..
Valentine said that Reno was ahead of his Raiders in the HDL standings prior to the game, so the RHS club had some extra motivation, and now lead Reno.
Reed will travel to North Valleys Saturday. Kick off is set for 1 p..m.
“Hopefully we can get healthy before,” Valentine said. “The way we played today, we’re going to try and keep the same things going.”