The last time the North County Battalion hosted the Conejos of FC Hasental it was a high scoring affair as both teams combined for six goals in a 4-3 Battalion victory. The return match at FC Hasental turned out to be just as exciting as the first leg. A total of seven goals were scored and just like last time the Battalion came up on top, this time by a score of 4-3.
FC Hasental started off the scoring early when they drew a free kick outside of the North County box in the 4th minute. Tomas Araujo got on the end of a free kick directed on goal and pushed the ball past goalkeeper James Stroud.
Two minutes later the Battalion found the equalizer. Nate Leboffe sent a hard shot at the Hasental goal. The keeper made a diving save, but the ball fell at the feet of Sergio Ortiz. Ortiz roofed the ball into the open goal to tie the score at one.
Soon after, in the 14th minute, Hasental sent a long kick down the right sideline. Cameron Artigliere beat his defender down the line and came in on Stroud. A hard shot got past the defenseless Battalion keeper putting the Conejos up 2-1.
In the 40th minute the Battalion had a glorious opportunity to tie the game when a Hasental player was called for a handball in the box. Ortiz stepped up to take the penalty kick, but Hasental goalkeeper Alexis Garcia Nunez stopped the shot. Instead of being tied the Battalion went in down by one at half.
The second half was completely different from the first. From the moment the whistle sounded the Battalion were the aggressors and in the 55th minute the Battalion were awarded another penalty kick. This time Esteban Reyes stepped up to take the penalty kick, but Garcia Nunez saved Reyes’s kick for a corner.
On the ensuing corner kick, Ortiz centered the ball to Reyes who skied over the defense and headed the ball home to tie the game.
Momentum was clearly on the Battalion’s side until a hard foul by Hasental threatened to change the game. Ortiz was fouled hard when he got up he retaliated and the ref came over to card him. He quickly gave Ortiz a yellow, however after deliberating on the sideline he decided to change the card to a red. Playing with ten men the Battalion would have to try to keep the momentum going.
And the Battalion did keep the momentum going when in the 78th minute they took the lead. Esteban Reyes took a 30-yard shot down the middle of the field that knuckled past the Hasental goalkeeper.
Leading 3-2 the Battalion tacked on the fourth goal in the 86th minute. Asher Booth received a through ball from Reyes that he chipped over Garcia Nunez, giving the Battalion a two-goal lead.
After the 90th minute, five minutes of extra time were added. Desperate to get two goals the Conejos relentlessly attacked. In the 94th minute Hasental’s Artigliere took a pass at the top of the box and sent a shot near post that beat a flat footed Stroud. This cut the lead to one, however time ended soon after and the Battalion headed home with three points.
Next Saturday the Battalion hit the road again, this time to face Temecula FC. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30, so get some friends and head up north to support the guys.