Sandy • As high as the Jordan boys’ soccer team felt in tying Saturday’s Real Cup championship game, Alta didn’t let the celebration last long.
After squandering a two-goal lead in the second half, Alta reclaimed the lead just two minutes later and held on to edge Jordan 3-2 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Marshall Miller scored the eventual game-winner on a free kick at the top of the penalty box with 19 minutes remaining in regulation.
“In soccer, momentum can change left and right,” Miller said. “You never know what can change it. Somehow we found a way to come back. We just kept working hard. We get to play them all the time and have good competition.”
The Region 3 rivals played in the second of three meetings over a three-week span. Alta defeated Jordan 2-1 on April 2, and the teams play again April 23.
Despite the familiarity between the teams, Alta was dominant in the first half, peppering the Jordan goal with shots and 10 corner kicks. However, Erik Marquez’s goal in the 10th minute accounted for the lone score of the first half.
Alex Tempest scored on a breakaway in the first minute of the second half to make it 2-0.
Although Jordan rallied to tie, the Hawks kept their heads up.
“I have faith in my boys,” Alta coach Lee Mitchell said. “Jordan is a good team, and we knew the game wasn’t over until the final whistle. With soccer, a lot of goals are scored within five minutes of each other. It’s amazing how that happens.”
Held to just one shot in the first half, the Beetdiggers came to life in the second half. Moments after Alta was denied on the attack, Jordan goalie Brandon Arnold’s quick restart led to the Beetdiggers’ first goal.
Nine minutes later, Trever Sundberg followed up a shot that Alta goalie Dylan McIllece had trouble containing. Sundberg’s blast ricocheted off the right post and volleyed into the left side of the goal, evening the game.
However, Miller’s goal effectively thwarted whatever momentum the Beetdiggers had established and put the Hawks back in control.
“They did the things we asked them to do, and that’s fun,” Mitchell said of his team. “Both [early] goals were important because it put Jordan back on their heels, but you’ve got to give them credit. They didn’t stop playing.”
Miller was impressed with how Alta’s defense held on the final 20 minutes of the game to preserve the lead and eventual victory.
“We see them in the back working hard, so we have to keep working hard up front,” Miller said. “We do a good job of identifying what is wrong, fixing it really quick and getting it going the other way. We played very, very hard.”
Alta improved to 8-1 overall with the victory, while Jordan fell to 4-4.
Storylines Alta 3, Jordan 2
R Jordan’s Trever Sundberg ties the game in the second half, but Alta’s Marshall Miller scores the game-winner just two minutes later.
• Alta’s Erik Marquez scores the only first-half goal, 10 minutes in.