Matt Nelson raced up the field. Time was ticking down in the first half of a match played in Casper, and the Cody boys soccer team were down two goals to the Mustangs.
The Broncs needed a little bit of momentum going into the second half and Nelson gave it to them.
The ball sailed past the Mustang defenders with Nelson close behind. There were just seconds left. He launched the ball at the goal and it tickled the back of the net as time ran out.
“The team had some great passes to move the ball up to the offense and then Jackson (Gail) played a perfect through-ball to me,” Nelson said. “I slotted it into the bottom right corner.”
Nelson added another goal 10 minutes into the second half, but it wasn’t quite enough and the Broncs fell 3-2.
“The game was definitely a battle and I feel like the team is playing very well together,” senior midfielder Wyatt Becker said. “We have some stuff we need to improve, but overall we are playing well and hopefully can finish out the season strong.”
The Broncs (6-5, 5-4 3A West) started out sluggish, allowing a goal in the first five minutes on a free kick, then getting beaten on a long ball that was just “poked in,” coach Randy Rockey said. The final goal by the Mustangs (5-5-1, 4-5-1 4A West) came with about 15 minutes left to play, a rocket from the top of the 18 to secure them the win.
Despite the final score, Rockey liked what he saw from his team playing a bigger school.
“They matched up really, really well against a 4A team,” he said. “The game was well within reach, we just couldn’t pull off the upset.”
His players agreed.
“I don’t think that it was too much different. We have seen better teams,” senior midfielder Tucker Lynn said of playing a 4A school. “I think that the team needs to play at its best for the full 80 minutes instead of just increments throughout the game.”
The Broncs will not have long to make adjustments as they travel to Lyman on Friday for a conference match against the Eagles (1-8, 1-6 3A West). It will be the first time the two teams have met as the Eagles forfeited a match earlier this season.
The Broncs follow that up with a rematch against Mountain View (0-9, 0-7 3A West) on Saturday.