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Prep boys soccer: Some Foothill League intrigue

League-title favorite Canyon is tied for the second game in a row as WR moves ahead in standings

Posted: January 21, 2011 10:21 p.m.
Updated: January 22, 2011 4:55 a.m.

Canyon boys soccer can't seem to find itself in the right place at the right time.

With nine minutes left in a game against West Ranch, Canyon's A.J. Rochow headed in what appeared to be the game-winning goal.

It was called back on an offside call.

Sound familiar?

For the second straight game, the Cowboys' potential game-winner was waved off late in the game, which finished in a 1-1 tie Friday at West Ranch High School.

"They played a great game," Rochow said of West Ranch. "But in the end, the 12th man, the ref, made the final decision."

On Tuesday, a Canyon goal was called back during stoppage time in a 2-2 draw with Valencia.

Friday's would-be goal came after a defensive battle which resulted in a scoreless first half, followed by a physical and controversial second half.

It all started when Canyon's Bonifacios Rojas had a free kick from the right corner near the 6-yard mark.

The ball sailed into the crowd of players and was eventually headed in by Rochow, sending the Cowboys sideline into a frenzy.

The celebration was short-lived, as the official quickly made the offside call, explaining that Canyon midfielder Jordan Markovich was inside the goal line before the score.

"I saw a guy laying in the goal, and they called him offside," said West Ranch head coach Mo Burgess.

But the Canyon (6-4-5, 1-1-2 Foothill League) side saw things differently.

"They had two defenders on each post," Rochow said of the play. "I ran around the outside and scored on a header, and my guy fell down inside the goal."

Rochow pleaded to the referee that Markovich didn't fall inside the goal until it was scored.

"It's fine. It's soccer," Burgess said. "Good, bad or indifferent, I think it was pretty even."

Though Rochow's non-goal was most memorable, there were plenty of controversial plays throughout the game.

In all, eight different players were given yellow cards - four on each team.

The action started when West Ranch (7-2-5, 2-1-1) scored on an own goal less than 10 minutes into the second half.

Wildcats striker Tylar Simone took the ball to the far right corner before sending a cross toward the box.

Canyon's Alex Prince inadvertently knocked the ball just inside the right post to put West Ranch up 1-0.

The goal came after several missed opportunities by the Wildcats in the first half, which was largely controlled by the home team.

West Ranch outshot Canyon 6-1 in the period.

"We played our hearts out, and we pretty much dominated the game," said West Ranch captain Ashton Kolander. "They got one lucky goal, but other than that, we played well."

The Cowboys' score came 59th minute when Mohammed Roknipour sent a free kick from the left sideline to a wide open Markovich, who kicked the ball through traffic and into the net.

"We called a nice set play," said Canyon head coach Khris Savage. "Everybody thinks (Roknipour) is going to blast it, and then we dish it and get an open goal."

Once Canyon tied it at 1-1, the intensity of the game picked up.

Yellow cards were flying and both teams were physical in going after the ball.

The total shots-on-goal evened out to a 7-6 Wildcats advantage when all was said and done, but Burgess said his team's play in the second half didn't necessarily show up on paper.

"As far as I'm concerned, we were getting opportunities," Burgess said. "We just chose not to shoot it. We were going for the pass instead."

For now, West Ranch is ahead in the league standings, but Canyon feels like it needs to rectify poor first-half play next time around.

"It was a sloppy game the whole way though, and that's not how we like to play," Savage said.



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