Boys' soccer: Milwaukie strikes late, ties rival Putnam, 2-2
Milwaukie's Antonio Cuevas was in the right place at the right time with 13.8 seconds remaining Tuesday night.
Cuevas ran on to a ball that Gustavo Felix lofted across the Putnam goalmouth from the left wing and headed it inside the left post, lifting the Mustangs to a 2-2 Northwest Oregon Conference boys' soccer tie with the visiting Kingsmen.
Putnam opened a 2-0 lead on two goals by Brandon Preciado -- one in the 39th minute, another in the 55th minute -- before the Mustangs rallied in the final 15 minutes, scoring the equalizer on their final offensive run of the game.
A tie? It felt more like a win for Milwaukie (2-4-2, 0-1-1 NWOC).
"It felt like exactly what we needed," Mustangs coach Allen Sitz said. "Even though I don't feel the score line reflected how we played in terms of our control of the ball and the amount of opportunities, to see it not end with a loss and to end on elation, even though it's a tie, we'll take it."
The Kingsmen (2-3-2, 1-0-1) felt as if they'd squandered a golden opportunity against their crosstown rival.
"It's always disappointing when you surrender a goal in the last 13 seconds," Putnam coach Mitch Wing said. "But it's a tie, and in this league, I'll take a tie.
"It's a rivalry game and we know crazy things happen. That's the way this game has always gone. There have been scores in the last 30 seconds, scores in the last three seconds … it's what it is. It was a good game."
Milwaukie's Bryan Duran ignited the Mustangs' comeback in the 66th minute when he took a pass from Felix near the top left of the 18-yard box, and then got the nearest Putnam defender to lean left as he moved right and beat Kingsmen goalkeeper Jesse Ensley with a shot inside the near post to make it 2-1.
"Bryan put a really good move on the defender," Sitz said. "I don't know if the defender slipped or just got caught going the wrong way, but Bryan did a heckuva job to create a little bit of space to get that shot off."
In the 73rd minute, Milwaukie keeper Jared Shaaban kept it a one-goal game when he stopped a shot by Putnam's Drew Urben on a breakaway.
"Jared made a brilliant save on that one," Sitz said. "A goal there would have totally taken the air out and deflated everything that we had going. Essentially, the game would have ended, even though it wasn't over at that point."
Milwaukie redoubled its effort at the offensive end and was rewarded during one final, desperate rush that started with about 30 seconds left and ended with Felix hitting the ball from about 45 yards out on the left wing and sending it in the direction of the far post.
Cuevas saw Felix drive the ball, but then momentarily lost the ball in the lights as he crashed the top of the 6-yard box.
"I saw the ball about two seconds before it came toward my head," Cuevas said. "I jumped as high as I could to head it, the ball went right into the bottom left of the goal, and we got the tie."
How did the play look from the Milwaukie bench?
"I saw that the defense was pulled over" Sitz said. "When Gustavo played it off his foot, I saw that Antonio had found a little bit of room behind the defender. I was just hoping that Gustavo had put it far enough to get it there and that Antonio wouldn't miss.
"Antonio's not a big guy, and the defender probably had 10 inches on him, so I knew the ball had to get all the way over him or there was no way, because Antonio wasn't going to out jump him to get it."
Over on the Putnam bench, Wing was left shaking his head.
"Right at the very end, we forgot to play defense," Wing said. "We watched. We were watchers. That's all it was. It's high school boys. Those things happen. Instead of playing, they watched and Putnam hit a good ball and a good header.
"It was a good game. We would have like a different outcome, but I'll take a tie. It's OK. Good game, though, Very exciting. That's the way we like this game."
The tie extended Putnam's unbeaten streak in the series to 3-0-2 over the past five seasons.
"Pretty heartbreaking," said Preciado, the senior midfielder who had both Kingsmen goals. "I thought we had it. And then we didn't.
"We were winning, and I think we could have scored more, but we missed our chances and then Milwaukie started dominating. This was a game we should have won. That's what we came here for, but we didn't win. It was still a pretty good game, though."