LONGMONT — Trojans sophomore Kyle Pocalyko thought he had the equalizing goal, and he wasn’t the only one if the noise from the hometown fans was any indication.
Midway through the second half and trailing visiting Loveland, Ernesto Enriquez delivered a short crossing pass in traffic to the foot of Pocalyko, who ripped a shot hard enough to blow through the goalkeeper’s outstretched hand.
The ball, seemingly in slow motion, bounded toward the open goal but Indians defender Marcos Deltoro swooped in from nowhere to clear the ball, save the goal and preserve Loveland’s 1-0 victory over Longmont on Wednesday night at Everly-Montgomery Field.
“I got a good ball through, took a good touch and just tried to finish it. They made a pretty good save and there’s not much you can do about that,” Pocalyko said.
The Trojans fell to 0-2 on the season, having lost both contests by single goal each time.
But first-year coach Pat Laughlin saw plenty to like despite a first-half mistake in the midfield that ended up costing Longmont.
Loveland’s Marco Gonzalez found more than enough room near midfield to send a pass nearly the entire width of the field to an open Andrew Woodward, who beat a defender on the wet field and charged toward the net.
Trojans keeper Yovanni Hernandez charged way out of the net, beyond the goalbox, and tried to slide in front of Woodward and cut off the angle.
But Woodward sliced a step to his left and knocked in the open goal.
“One thing we’re looking for this season is to anticipate defensive mistakes. There were quite a few but we only finished on one of them. Unfortunately it wasn’t more, but we made that one count,” Woodward said. “One to zero, not a great score to win by. We held them off, but think we could have created more opportunities.”
The Indians improved to 4-0 on the young season, having outscored the opposition 9-3.
Longmont found its footing in the second half and started to apply the pressure. But that one miscue ended up being the deciding factor.
“We made a mistake on their goal, but I’m not so much worried about the defender slipping and the ball going under his foot,” Laughlin said. “I think the mistake came in the midfield; it was poor positioning.”
The Trojans continued to press over the next couple of minutes after the near-miss, with another close-in shot on goal swallowed up, this time by the keeper.
Though the teams play in different classifications, there was enough testiness late to call this a rivalry.
Several players took shots at each other, and Longmont’s Keenan Meitz was the one who got caught, drawing a red card in the 77th minute.
The Trojans’ last-gasp attempt, with Enriquez crossing to Ward Helfrich, fell short when Loveland’s defense collapsed around the ball and ended the threat.
Brady Delander can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LOVELAND 1, LONGMONT 0
At Everly-Montgomery Field
Loveland (4-0) 1 0 — 1
Longmont (0-2) 0 0 — 0
Goals (assists) — Loveland: Andrew Woodward (Marco Gonzalez), 25th minute.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Loveland: Salvador Gonzalez (80-0-4), Team (0-0-1); Longmont: Yovanni Hernandez (80-1-4).
Corner kicks — Loveland: 1-4 — 5; Longmont: 0-3 — 3.
Offsides — Loveland: 4-0 — 4; Longmont: 1-0 — 0.
Red card — Longmont: Keenan Meitz, 77th.