SANDY — It took nearly 100 minutes, but Brighton finally got a ball past West's super freshman goalie, Julio Chacon.
With just seven minutes remaining in double overtime, Brighton's Hayden Smedley used his speed to receive a ball behind West's defense. He then carefully placed his shot just past the outstretched arms of Chacon and into the back of the net for the sudden-death 1-0 win Tuesday on Brighton's home field.
Hayden's exhausted teammates mobbed him on the field — relieved to have something finally get through.
"It sure took us awhile to get one in, but we got it and that is what's important," said Brighton coach Tom Cushing.
Brighton's offensive efforts up to the point of Smedley's goal were an exercise in frustration. The Bengals owned the time of possession for most of the match and subsequently had more than a few chances to score.
Time and again those chances were turned back by what proved to be a stellar and resilient Panther defense.
"You have to give them credit for how they played," Cushing said. "We kept the pressure on, but that goalie had a real good game and I thought they did a great job defensively for the most part."
As good as West was defensively, Cushing felt his team needs to be better when given multiple scoring opportunities.
"It's been a problem in all our games this year, to be honest, and we have to get better at that," he said. "We've played five games this season and have just five goals. That's not good enough and we have to get better."
Fortunately for the Bengals, their defense has been stellar during the preseason. West had some opportunities Tuesday, but was limited by Brighton's defense.1 comment on this story
"I've been happy with our defense and now we just need our offense to catch up," Cushing said. "I feel our midfield play improved today and that we got better as the game went on. Those are positives we can use going into our next few matches."
With the win Brighton improves to 2-2-1 on the year and will travel to take on Cottonwood next Tuesday. West falls to 1-2-1 and will take on Juan Diego on the road this Friday.