Alexis Soto (9) keeps the ball away from a McKay defender (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

It was evident from the opening kickoff that the McKay and McNary boys’ soccer teams were evenly matched — the two squads played to a 1-1 draw earlier this season. However, in the final two minutes of the contest, the Royal Scots found a way to spoil McNary’s senior night. 

In the 79th minute, David Garcia connected with Kobe Bane on a corner kick, and the junior forward snuck in his second goal of the night just between the keeper and the right post as McKay went on to defeat McNary 2-1 on Monday, March 29.

“It was a defensive error. The defender should have been in front of the forward instead of behind,” McNary head coach Miguel Camarena said. 

“I am still in shock after that last goal,” Celtics goalkeeper Miguel Orduna added. 

Both teams had their opportunities to score early but neither squad was able to break the seal. The Celtics looked like they had a great chance to break the tie when Eddie Martinez received a through ball and appeared to have a one-on-one situation with the McKay keeper. But the sideline official whistled the play dead due to McNary being offside.

“We just need to finish. That is the part that we are missing,” Camarena said. 

Orduna had a pair of diving saves in the latter stages of the first half, but in the 33rd minute, Bane got loose from numerous McNary defenders and fired a laser past Orduna for the goal, putting McKay on top 1-0. 

McNary looked like they were going to answer back early in the second half when a McKay defender fell down on a through ball, giving Alexis Soto a free run to the net. However, McKay keeper Andy Canchola was somehow able to get part of his body in front of the shot to force the ball to trickle out-of-bounds.

“We definitely had our opportunities but we didn't finish and put them in the back of the net. That is what cost us the game,” McNary defenseman Jose Martinez said. 

After pushing a lot of numbers forward for most of the second half, the Celtics got on the board in the 63rd minute. McNary midfielder Hudson Brunk was fouled hard after an aggressive move into the box, which caused the officials to award the Celtics a penalty kick. 

McNary chose Eddie Martinez to take the shot and the senior forward made the most of the opportunity by punishing the back of the net on his shot to the right side of the goal, tying the game at 1-1. 

It was clear that the Celtics weren’t playing for a draw in this one as they continued to be assertive on the offensive end, but couldn’t take advantage of multiple free kick opportunities deep in McKay territory. 

The Celtics defense had been solid during the vast majority of the contest, but a lapse on the corner kick in the final two minutes was the difference in the loss.

“None of us took charge and jumped in to get in the way,” Jose Martinez said. 

Despite the defeat, the McNary squad was thankful they were able to host a senior night and play in front of friends and family. 

“Having the opportunity to have parents see their kids in their last high school home game is special,” Camarena said. 

“It makes me happy that we could have a senior night. It is honestly a miracle that we can actually play sports,” Orduna said. 

McNary will conclude their season at West Salem on Monday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m.

“We want a win. We need to close a high note,” Camarena said. 

Matt Rawlings: [email protected]