Three late goals in the last ten minutes of play Tuesday propelled the Rebels to a stunning 4-3 comeback victory over the Anderson Trojans at Shelton Stadium.
Hays came into the match having lost four straight and sought to get back into the win column. Initially, Hays placed pressure on Anderson early.
The first fifteen minutes of the match were dominated by the Rebels. Senior Alfredo Beltran and junior Gerardo Rodriguez led the offensive charge, as both players got several solid shots off on goal. An Anderson counter attack, however, led to the game’s first goal, as the Trojans took a 1-0 lead at the 20-minute mark.
Hays responded fairly quickly when Beltran set up Rodriguez perfectly for an easy goal, tying the match at 1-1. Hays slowed down, allowing Anderson to dominate the next few possessions of the match. Anderson scored a goal just before halftime to take a 2-1 match lead.
The Trojans added another goal early in the second half to take a commanding 3-1 lead.
With time winding down, and the team desperate for a goal, Hays stormed back with a vengeance to close the game.
Rodriguez struck again via a one-on-one situation in which he nailed a low shot for his second goal of the match with just five minutes remaining. The goal ignited the Rebels and they didn’t look back.
As Hays kept its foot on the gas pedal, the pressure caught up with the Trojans.
A miscue by an Anderson player led to a on-goal that tied the match at 3-3 with two minutes left.
Rodriguez, less than a minute later, seized an opportunity and scored a go-ahead goal to complete a hat trick in the final moments.
Head coach Jason Burnett was pleased with his squad after the hard-fought victory.
“2-1 is a dangerous score in soccer,” Burnett said. “We made adjustments and it paid off. We took a shot and it worked out for us.”
Rodriguez was a force in the match by recording seven shots, four of which were on target. Burnett believes Rodriguez is a threat to score at any moment.
“He’s a player,” Burnett said. “If you let him loose, he is going to find the back of the net.”
The now 3-9-1 Hays Rebels will look to continue improving as they hit the road Friday to take on the Bowie Bulldogs, before returning home next Tuesday for a bout with Akins high School.