When it was over, Colton Cottrell and John Taylor each scored a goal, while Derek Farnes added an assist and Mitch Jensen pitched a shutout as the Darts beat the Warriors 2-0 to close the gap to within three points of second place in Region 1 with three games remaining in their soccer schedule.
“This was a game that we really needed,” said Darts coach Souli Phongsavath after the game. “At this point in the season we need all the games to be wins, but this was an important step in the right direction.
“I’m glad we were able to go out there and play as well as we did today.”
The Darts showed an early game plan that eventually worked out in their favor the entire game: score early, then play defense.
In the first half, Davis’ Cottrell scored in the 14th minute to give the Darts the early one-goal lead.
For the rest of the half, the Darts defense kept playing backwards, allowing Weber to get into their territory but not letting them get too many shots on goal.
“That first half we did look like we fell back a little bit after getting the first goal,” said Phongsavath. “But that’s been the game plan since we started. We wanted to play good defense and hopefully keep them off the score board.
“That’s the way you have to play when you get into the playoffs. I thought we did that very well today.”
The second half was a carbon copy of the first, with the Darts scoring early then playing tight defensively the rest of the game.
After a Weber foul just outside the penalty box gave Davis’ Farnes a free kick, he set up for the play to go to the corner of the net.
Farnes’ kick found the head of Taylor, who aimed the ball into the far side of the net just over the goal line for the goal.
It gave the Darts a two-goal advantage that they didn’t relinquish for the remainder of the game.
With the goal coming in the 49th minute of play, the Darts again played tough defensively and allowed only a few good shots on goal against Jensen, who played well all game to preserve the shut out.
Jensen had a pair of good challenges in the second half that he stopped. The first came in the 55th minute when Weber’s mid-fielder took a shot that bounced right into Jensen’s arms.
A couple minutes later, Weber had another opportunity on a break away to score and cut their deficit to a single goal, but Jensen quickly challenged the charge and saved the shot.
Weber’s final charge came in the 68th minute, when a Warriors' shot attempt hit the top cross bar and bounced back into play without a rebound shot being taken.
Weber didn’t take another shot after the 70th minute and Jensen was able to preserve the shutout.
“The biggest thing was getting the team to re-focus and get their game back together,” said Phongsavath. “And we did that. The losses have hurt, but we’ve been able to concentrate and bounce back from them and I think that’s going to be the best thing to do going forward.
“We want to be ready for the playoffs. If we finish as the No. 2 team that’s great, but we’re focusing on finishing well and gaining momentum into the playoffs.”
The Darts will go up against Fremont in their final home game of the year Thursday afternoon.