LEHI — Occasionally, it is better to be lucky than good.
For the American Fork boys soccer team, "occasionally" occurred over and over again Wednesday evening when it visited the Lehi Pioneers and escaped with a 2-1 victory — the Cavemen's first Region 4 win of the season.
“We were really fortunate,” American Fork head coach Nate Lowe said after the game. “We were thoroughly outplayed in the first half. We played five minutes of the 40-minute half and came out winning at halftime.”
Lehi forward Cooper Frios netted the first goal to give the Pioneers an early advantage, but the Cavemen took advantage of a penalty kick during their five minutes of focus and never looked back.
“Logan Redhair just got knocked over and he was right on the edge of the box,” Lowe said, noting that Tyler Staten scored the goal on the penalty kick in the 36th minute.
“I think that call could have gone either way, and we were sort of fortunate it went our way,” the coach continued. “But if you’re a defender and a guy’s running away from the goal, you’ve got to be composed and he wasn’t. He just kind of ran him over.”
American Fork turned right around and took the lead when Michael Bown scored his first goal of the season.
“He just took the ball off the defender's foot and had a crack,” Lowe said. “We were just lucky — lucky that he’s good.”
Lowe added that it was just nice to see the junior back on the field.
“He’s been hurt. He’s one of our top players and broke his foot the first game of the season. This is his first game back.”
Lehi (5-4-0, 2-2-0) turned on the offensive power throughout the second half of play, but could never find the back of the net.
“We were definitely in a defensive posture. We packed it in, changed the formation,” the coach said. “(The Pioneers) were really pressing, that last 15 minutes especially. (I was) nervous. With the way they were pressing and just us defending, (I thought), 'It’s going to go in eventually.'”
But the Cavemen stood strong and were aided on the defensive end by the fantastic effort of Jacob Brazell in goal.
“He came up huge with several saves there in the second half,” Lowe said. “If he didn’t play as solid as he did, we would have been in trouble. And the woodwork. The frame saved us on one. Again, we were fortunate.”
American Fork improves to 4-6-0 on the season and 1-3-0 in region play with six games remaining. In spite of the losing record, Lowe is pleased with how his team took advantage of its opportunities against Lehi.
“There have been some games this year we definitely should have won,” he said. “This is one that maybe they should have won but didn’t. They had the majority of the possession but you’ve got to also be good in front of the net, and they didn’t put away their chances.”
Sarah Thomas is a graduate of the University of Utah and has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org