The Stansbury boys soccer team’s home opener against Mountain View on Friday wasn’t the Stallions’ best offensive effort, according to coach Jacob Jones.
But when the Stallions were presented with an opportunity, they didn’t miss.
Three set pieces — a corner kick, a free kick and a penalty kick — all resulted in goals, lifting Stansbury to a 4-2 win over the Bruins on a muddy pitch at Stallion Stadium in one of their final tune-ups for the upcoming Region 11 schedule.
Stansbury (2-3) found itself trailing early, allowing a goal to the Bruins’ Desmond Sackey on a rebound in the 16th minute that put Mountain View (0-2) in front 1-0. That came just eight minutes after the Stallions’ Israel Jones nearly scored a goal of his own, only to have a Bruins defender clear the ball away as it was rolling toward the goal line.
However, Stansbury wasn’t rattled by the early momentum swing. Instead, the Stallions pulled even 10 minutes after Sackey’s tally, with senior Mitchell Holdstock getting his head on a corner kick by Gabe Golden for his first goal of the season. The game went into halftime tied 1-1, but Jacob Jones still wanted more from his team offensively.
“We weren’t using our forwards,” the coach said. “We weren’t making runs, so we told them ‘you’ve got to make runs. You’ve got to start using each other and feeding it out wide,’ and once we started doing that, we got a couple opportunities.”
The Stallions had a decided advantage in terms of possession at the start of the second half, and that paid off in the 53rd minute as they took their first lead of the season as Tyler Kitchen converted on a loose ball in front of the Mountain View net to put Stansbury up 2-1. Two minutes later, Kitchen nearly scored again when his shot went wide off a free kick from Golden, but he didn’t have to wait long for another opportunity.
In the 59th minute, Stansbury earned a free kick on a Mountain View foul from about 30 yards out. Brandon Bustillos launched a nearly perfect kick that ricocheted off the crossbar in the top right corner. Sam Holdstock was in the right place at the right time as the ball caromed toward him, heading it across for Kitchen to find the empty net for a 3-1 lead.
Four minutes later, Stansbury scored a crucial insurance goal. A Mountain View defender earned a red card for a hand ball in the box that kept the Stallions from scoring on a breakaway, setting up Golden for a penalty kick. The Stansbury senior calmly booted the ball off the bottom of the crossbar in the top right corner of the goal and in for a 4-1 lead.
“That was all them,” Jacob Jones said of the set pieces. “We’re early in the year and haven’t had a lot of practices. We’ve worked on it, but that was all them.”
Mountain View’s Ben Mella scored on a penalty kick in the 78th minute after Sam Holdstock committed a late foul in the box, but that was all the offense the Bruins could muster in the second half.
Stansbury, which went 1-2 at a tournament in St. George following Thursday’s game, will open Region 11 play Wednesday at home against Bonneville.