By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Every contested pass, rally and shot was met by cheers and jeers by the packed homestead Tuesday night when McKay and North Salem played. The energy, the passion, the fire funneled in the McKay High School stadium on Tuesday night that made it feel like it was a playoff soccer match with both teams looking for one more victory.
But hey, that’s what makes the game of soccer fun. All that mentioned above being played out on the field, feeding off of each other and feeding off of the crowd as you stay in the moment.
“At a certain point it was getting to me, but then as a keeper you have to get straight. Otherwise, you’re going into the crowd and the emotions are coming to you and you make mistakes. Pretty much for me, I had to be the cold-headed guy for my team,” North Salem Vikings goalkeeper Josue Vargas said of the moment.
North struck first, a Josiah Solorzano in the 24th minute. The Viks held onto the 1-0 lead into the half, but the game was quickly tied five minutes in with Miguel Garcia poked it in through traffic as McKay continued their offensive assault with the Mountain Valley Conference slate coming in a few days.
Garcia turned, with his arms opened, was flooded by the cheers from the stands like a Gladiator would after a victory.
“It was a crazy experience. The fans, they’re crazy. Thank you to them honestly. But once I scored that goal, that feeling that you get. I ran to them. It’s crazy,” Garcia said. “Crazy game. Very, very competitive. I mean I’ve played with a couple of the other team’s guys in club and those guys are good players. Both sides did good, should’ve come out with the win but it happens. It’s how the game is.”
The Scots had a chance in the 56th minute, but it was stopped by a Luis Pena Casillas sliding tackle. North Salem’s Solorzano shot hit the top crossbar in the 68th. That decisive goal was hard to come by as the game came down to the wire for a victory instead of a tie.
Both teams came close again in the final ten with no luck. The Vikings had the last shot with 39 seconds left in the game from about 25, 30-yards out on a free kick. Cristian Ceja Romaro sent it into the wall, it was headed but the header went out of bounce as the clock trickled to zero to seal the 1-1 draw.
“Coming out from a tie, we learn from this but (league) season starts on Tuesday and that’s who we’re ready for,” Garcia said.
McKay opens MVC-play Tuesday hosting Bend. North Salem host Hillsboro to close out non-league play Thursday, looking to build from the momentum built from this energetic game before entering Mid-Willamette Conference-play Tuesday at Dallas.
““(This game) shows us that we can compete that we can come out in a game 1-0 expecting more. We can compete with big teams,” Vargus said.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald