The boys soccer teams from Marshfield and Cottage Grove entered Wednesday’s key showdown at Pete Susick Stadium tied for first place in the Sky-Em League.
They ended the night the same way, after Marshfield had a pair of late goals to tie the Lions 5-all.
The result left the teams tied at 3-0-1 heading into another key match for the Pirates on Monday against Marist Catholic in Eugene.
Marshfield coach Chad Putman was pleased that his squad was able to rally for the draw against the Lions.
“It shows our team will hang in there and fight back,” Putman said. “That is going to serve us well in the long run.”
The Pirates trailed much of the match, though they struck first.
Marshfield was awarded a penalty kick just over five minutes into the match and took advantage, with David Flores Garcia converting it for a 1-0 lead.
Then the Pirates came up with a key defensive play when Cottage Grove received a penalty kick after a foul in the box and Marshfield goalkeeper Gannon Frost dove to his left and deflected the shot away.
Last season Daniel Garcia Hurtado was Marshfield’s goalie, but Frost, a tall sophomore, has filled that role well and given Putman a chance to put Garcia Hurtado in the field, where he can provide a boost for the team.
What momentum the Pirates had went away quickly, though, with the Lions scoring three goals in eight minutes.
Cottage Grove appeared headed for a 3-1 halftime lead, but Gonzalo Delgado Guavara scored for the Pirates in the 38th minute.
Halftime also gave the Pirates time to regroup, something Putman said has been valuable.
He talks with assistants Juan Ocampo and Allan Ledesma and a few of the veteran players to get multiple perspectives on how the game is going.
“We are able to come up with a plan in real time,” the coach said.
Against Cottage Grove, that included trying to neutralize the Lions’ speed.
Still, the Pirates twice more fell down by two goals.
Cottage Grove scored early in the second half. Delgado Guavara pulled Marshfield within 4-3 with 20 minutes to go, but the Lions quickly scored again.
Marshfield found a way to rally back.
Delgado Guavara had another goal with just over 13 minutes to go and three minutes later, Cottage Grove was called for a handball in the penalty box and Flores Garcia again made the penalty kick.
Ten minutes later, the physical, emotional match was over and the teams were still tied for first.
“It was a good battle between two teams that wanted to win,” said Alberto Castillo, one of Marshfield’s seniors and captains.
He added the team’s experience, both in age and time on the pitch together, made a difference.
“Just believing in each other and wanting it,” Castillo said.
A draw, Castillo said, was much better than a loss.
“We’ll take it and we’ll learn and we’ll play them much better next time,” Castillo said.
As for areas the Pirates need to get better at, he mentioned being more disciplined and recovering better against the speed of the Lions.
“Now that we’ve seen how they play, we’ll go to their house (and play better),” he said.
Marshfield’s first three league matches weren’t close — the Pirates beat Junction City 6-0, Siuslaw 8-2 and Elmira 9-1.
Following Monday’s match at Marist Catholic, the Pirates open the second round of league play at Junction City on Wednesday and host Brookings-Harbor in a nonleague match Friday.