It was a combination of the right attitude and being at the right place at the right time.
Dave Berto, the Shadow’s leading scorer, broke out of his quiet offensive weekend Saturday night at Albi Stadium when his 35-foot shot broke a tie and lifted Spokane past the Cascade Surge 3-2 with 2 minutes remaining in sudden-death overtime.
It was Berto’s seventh goal of the season and one that brought most of the 1,216 spectators to their feet.
The win improved the Shadow’s USISL Premier League Northwest Division-leading record to 10-1, 11-2 overall. Cascade, a team that handed Spokane its only league loss, fell to 5-7, 5-9.
Prior to the game-winner, Berto assisted Chad Brown in the match’s first goal at 10:30. But during the final minutes of regulation, Berto sailed a shot over the crossbar with 13 minutes left. He followed with a missed header with 10 minutes remaining and finished with a missed free kick with 3:42 left.
All this coming after three missed opportunities down the stretch in the Shadow’s 1-0 Friday night win over Bellingham.
“If you can hit one out of your 10 shots you’re doing good,” said Berto. “If you dwell on the misses, it’s like a rut. What I was doing was focusing on the opportunities that I created.”
Berto’s opportunity was aided by Zane Higgins, who got the ball in the flank and passed it to Berto.
“The defender stopped and I turned,” explained Berto. “It was the last thing the keeper was thinking.”
The keeper was reserve Eric Freitag, who took over 3 minutes into the game when starter Adam Pierce suffered a right arm injury after colliding with Spokane’s Stuart Saunders. Pierce was taken to a Spokane hospital for X-rays.
Freitag did a fine job keeping his team in the match, but watched the Surge’s one-goal lead disappear when Higgins scored from 15 yards out at 74:00 to tie the match at 2. The goal was assisted by Matt Zlateff.
Higgins, usually a starter, was relegated to a reserve Saturday and came off the bench with 31:00 left in regulation. Lately, by his own admission, he’s been in a slump.
“If I have to come off the bench, I’ll do what the coach wants,” said Higgins, whose goal was his fifth this season. “If I don’t like it I really don’t have any say in it.”
After Brown and Berto teamed for the first goal, Cascade tied the score at 27:00 on a P.J. Brown shot and Eric Wooten assist off a corner kick. The visitors took the lead 2-1 at 47:00 on another play that began on a corner kick. Wooten was credited with the goal.
“The second half was probably the best soccer we played all year. We controlled the tempo. We imposed our style on the game,” Shadow coach Sean Bushey said.
Shadow 3, Surge 2 (OT)
First half-1, Spokane, C.Brown (Berto), 10:30. 2, Cascade, P.J. Brown (Wooten), 18:30. Second half-3, Cascade, Wooten (Funk), 47:00. 4, Spokane, Higgins (Zlateff), 74:00. Overtime-5, Spokane, Berto, 103:00.
Shots on goal-Cascade 14, Spokane 17. Saves-Cascade, Pierce and Freitag 8. Spokane, Mullen 8. A-1,216.
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