Goal-starved and playoff-hunting, the Palm Desert boys’ soccer team picked an ideal evening to pounce on their once suspect playoff fates.
Behind first-half goals from Alex Samano and Carlos Lopez, the host Aztecs beat Palm Springs 2-0 on Tuesday night. The dual goals quenched a scoring drought for Palm Desert, which hadn’t tallied a goal in its past two games.
Twenty nine minutes into the first half, Samano scored on a fine crossing pass across the middle from forward Tristan Sinkinson before Lopez netted a header 10 minutes later to craft the final outcome.
“I was just in the right spot, the right place at the right time,” said Lopez of rising from a scrum that began with a free kick near midfield. “I’m very excited I got that goal, and I think that’s what brought them (Palm Springs) down.”
Palm Desert began the night in fourth place, and now enters its DVL finale on Thursday at first-place La Quinta.
“When we play at home, that’s a really big difference,” added Lopez. “When we lost against Coachella (5-0 last Tuesday) that was supposed to bring us down, but we just kept coming up and coming up. The practices have been intense.”
Palm Springs entered Tuesday in second place in league play, with an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot and control its own destiny for a DVL championship with back-to-back wins to close out the season. Instead, the Indians now may need to win their season-closer just to reach the postseason.
“We’ve just been flat the last two games,” said Palm Springs’ head coach Jimmy Jordan.
“We didn’t start the game ready to play tonight, and by the time we decided to start playing we were playing catch-up and it was too late.”
Clearly frustrated by his team’s tally of just one goal in the last two contests, the coach seemed more intent on finding quality over quantity with one league game to play.
“At this point we’re not even talking about playoffs,” Jordan said. “At this point we’re talking about pride. After the product we put on the field today, I don’t care what place we come in to finish DVL. I only care that our last game we put in a game that we can be proud of.”
Palm Springs (9-9-5, 6-3-2 DVL) closes of its league season Thursday at home vs. Cathedral City.
Palm Desert (12-8-3, 6-4-1 DVL) ends its DVL campaign on Thursday at La Quinta.