SANDY — The Alta Hawks pulled off a 4-2 victory Friday afternoon against Juan Diego in the Real Cup at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Marshall Miller came to play hard for the Hawks as he scored two header goals in the victory.
“It was a team effort, I had great service from both balls it was honestly an easy finish, we had great service all game, any goal electrifies the game and any goal we get just gives us that energy to keep going and playing through when everybody’s tired,” said Miller.
The service that Miller referred to was his teammate’s timely passes in the right direction that set him up perfectly for his two scores.
Michael Porter curled a ball toward Miller from deep in the left corner in the first half toward the pack of players in front of the goal and Miller directed the ball perfectly off his head for his first goal, tying the game at 2-2 late in the first half.
Miller’s second header came with 38 seconds left in the game during a frenetic effort by Juan Diego in the final few minutes as it tried to tie the game.
Alta played good defense and controlled the ball to get it down field just in time for another deep pass that glanced off Miller’s head for a goal to seal the game for Alta.
Juan Diego started the game fast scoring its first goal in the first minute of the game on a penalty kick by Andrew Montoya.
About 13 minutes later, Juan Diego went up 2-0 on a bizarre play where an Alta player headed a ball into his own goal.
Alta head coach Lee Mitchell was just happy to get a victory after a rough start.
“We finally started playing our game a little bit instead of worrying about the other team so that helped us; Juan Diego’s a good team and they jumped on us right at the start so we had to settle down a little,” said Mitchell. “I didn’t get them mentally ready I guess.”
Alta was able to come back from the 2-0 deficit as an Alex Tempest putback kick went into the nets, scoring the Hawks' first goal late in the first half.
It was a 2-2 tie at halftime.
Coming out of halftime the Hawks got going quick as Tanner Valerio scored a goal just four minutes into the second half.
With Juan Diego only down by one goal, Alta’s stifling defense held the Soaring Eagle in check the rest of the game.
“Our defense battled all game long, and we had to just keep on battling as our backs did a very good job of staying organized, moving the ball, and staying disciplined. We fixed our few mistakes at halftime and kept moving forward,” said Miller.
The Alta defense in the second half led the team to the victory but Mitchell still sees the need for improvement.
“Hopefully we’ll learn some lessons and won’t make the same mistakes next time,” said Mitchell.
The Hawks will play on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Rio Tinto against the winner of Friday’s nightcap game between Sky View and Jordan.
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