ARVADA -- As the pitch slickened, the odds of a shootout exponentially increased.

The Skyline boys soccer team, with the North Area Athletic Complex's turf transforming from green to white, did everything to avoid that essentially random scenario and win in regulation Thursday.

But after 110 minutes and the match still in a stalemate, the shootout ensued. The 19th-seeded Falcons lost the shootout, and No. 14 Golden escaped with a 2-1 win in the opening round of the Class 4A postseason.

"It was really hard to keep our feet on the ground and keep the ball to our feet," Skyline coach Luis Chavez said. "I thought they might call it before that. We had a lot of heart out there, but unfortunately in the end, it is what it is."

Golden won the shootout 3-1, as Demons goalkeeper Jack Nespor thwarted three consecutive Falcons after Jonathan Timms opened with a goal. Nespor turned away fellow keeper Jesus Aguirre before stifling Cruz Valdez and Marco Rodriguez. Meanwhile, all three Golden shooters found the net.

Skyline (9-5-2) believed it could have avoided that scenario.

The Falcons seemingly took command with 58 seconds remaining in the first half when Quan Trong scored off a feed from Valdez for a 1-0 lead.

But Golden (9-5-2) came back to tie it before the teams headed to the locker room when the Demons' Nils Ritches equalized things with a tally 24 seconds before the break.


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"I think what we did is, we got the goal and figured it was going to ease into halftime. Then we took our foot off the gas," said Timms, a junior. "Usually, the easiest time for the opponent to score is right after you score a goal. So when we took our foot off the gas, the stepped on the gas."

When the teams returned from halftime, the snow was just beginning to fall. It got heavier, and several slips, pulled muscles and minor injuries began to pile up on each side.

"When it first started snowing, it was hard to see because it was coming down so fast," Timms said. "You couldn't judge the ball too well because you had to keep blinking, but we kind of got used to it."Skyline was awarded a man advantage when Golden's Diego Ramirez received his second yellow card and was shelved for the game with five minutes remaining in the first of the two 15-minute OTs. But quality chances were few and far between.

"We struggled at that point for whatever reason," Cruz said. "They seemed to multiply themselves and put a little more intensity on us wherever we were at."

Rather than bemoaning the shootout, in which the game is decided by criteria not seen in regulation, Skyline was more upset with allowing Golden to counter the Falcons' late first-half goal.

"That was a killer there," Chavez said. "We fell asleep right in the final seconds."

While Golden improved to 6-0-1 in its past seven matches and advanced to Saturday's second round, Skyline is beginning to reflect on a successful season.

The Falcons finished in a second-place tie in the Tri-Valley League with a 6-3-1 mark.

"It was a very good season. A lot better than we expected and I think anyone expected," Timms said. "We almost went to the second round of the playoffs, which Skyline has never done, so I was happy to be a part of it."

Follow Paul on Twitter: @PaulWillis21

 

Golden 2, Skyline 1

At North Area Athletic Complex

Skyline (9-5-2) 1 0 0 0 (0) -- 1

Golden (9-5-2) 1 0 0 0 (1) -- 2

Goals (assists) -- Skyline: Trong (Cruz), 40th minute; Golden: Richtes, 40th minute. Shootout -- Skyline: Timms G, Aguirre NG, Valdez NG, Rodriguez NG; Golden: Engquist G, Metz G, Duhnkrack G.

Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) -- Skyline: Aguirre (110-1-6); Golden: Nespor (110-1-5).