A few weeks ago, Valley boys soccer coach Terry Pryer ordered new white kits for his team. With the way his team is playing, he might not want to wash them again.
The Vikings are undefeated since the new jerseys arrived, including a 3-2 win over defending state champion Las Vegas (9-3-0, 7-3-0 Northeast) on Wednesday. With the win, Valley improved to 7-3-4 overall, 7-2-1 and 22 points for first place in Northeast League play.
“I think we finally played up to our potential,” Pryer said. “I’ve been telling the boys all year that I thought we were one of the best teams in the league, maybe even the city.
“I knew we had the potential, but we haven’t t been playing there. Today, we finally did it.”
The Vikings finished the first half down 1-0 after Las Vegas’ Josh Cook opened up scoring off a through-ball from senior striker Joaquin Rivas. But the memory of falling 5-0 to the Wildcats earlier this season lingered in Valley’s collective memory, and the Vikings came out charged for a better second-half run.
“They beat us 5-0 last time, and that stuck in our throats,” Pryer said. “I didn’t even need to have a team talk; they knew they needed to go out and prove they weren’t that far behind this great Vegas team.”
Valley got rolling early in the second half when Carlos Flores picked up a pass from senior forward Joey Lopez in the 46th minute to even the score at 1. Three minutes later, Flores picked up an assist after pushing the ball to Andy Herrara-Gonzalez to give the Vikings the lead.
“We saw that when we’d pressure, they would get nervous,” Herrara-Gonzalez said. “So we kept up the pressure on every ball we would go to. We didn’t lose the ball, knocked the ball around, passed well, and we came out to be the winning team.”
Argenis Jiminez finished the scoring for the Vikings with a goal midway through the second half, an unassisted blast after gathering a rebound from Wildcats goalkeeper Aaron Lopez.
“That goal that beat us was worthy of winning any game,” Las Vegas coach Vince Hart said. “It was a marvelous goal.”
The Wildcats made a frantic push for the goal late in the game, and Rivas sent another ball to Angel Martinez, who crushed it into the back of the net. But the Vikings got a little help from junior keeper Pedro Arias — who had eight saves — and the crossbar — after the Wildcats’ Cristian Basurto’s last-minute shot bounced off the crossbar.