Fort Hays State defender Luan Silva picked a good time to open his collegiate scoring account in Tuesday night’s game against West Texas A&M at FHSU Soccer Stadium.
Had the sophomore waited a few seconds — six exactly — there’s no telling when, or if, he would have scored his first goal in a Tigers uniform.
FHSU earned a free kick just left of the penalty area with eight seconds separating the Tigers and Buffaloes from what looked certain to be a 2-2 tie.
Mauricio Castorino stepped to the ball and delivered a near perfect cross to the far post.
“That’s as good of a ball as you can play in from a tight angle,” Fort Hays State coach Brett Parker said.
Silva — only in an attacking position because time wouldn’t allow a West Texas A&M counter — beat his man to the ball, went airborne and got anything he could on it. It turned out to be his hip that made the night’s final touch.
Aside from Castorino’s pass, Silva credited another teammate with an assist of sorts.
“Right before that play, Anthony Hernandez actually told me ‘Hey, go to the back post,’ ” Silva said. “So, I knew he had something going there. (I) crashed the back post, and (it) took a deflection.”
After the ball ricocheted into the net, the celebration was on and jerseys were ripped off as the No. 11 Tigers improved to 5-1 with a 3-2 win.
“Sometimes you have to create your own luck, and today, I think we did,” Parker said.
Getting in position to force extra time required a full effort from the Tigers.
Ivan UIlloa put the Buffaloes ahead in the sixth minute, beating Tigers goalie Michael Yantz to his lower left side.
Luis Torres supplied Castorino with a beautiful pass that allowed FHSU to equalize 20 minutes later. The outside back played a ball over the midfield, and into a crease in the defense. Castorino was the first to the ball and cut inside to beat the only defender between him and goal. The sophomore placed the ball beyond the keeper’s reach for his fifth goal in six games.
West Texas A&M was on the board again in the second half. Conrod Goulbourne finished a penalty kick that stemmed from a hand ball in the penalty area in the first minute of the half.
The Buffaloes helf lead until the final minutes of regulation when Maurizio Costa buried what turned out to be a make-or-break penalty kick in the 86th minute. It was also Costa’s fifth goal on the season.
The visitors took the only two shots of the first overtime, both of which were saved by Yantz. The second period of extra timed belonged to the Tigers, however. FHSU fired five shots to the Buffaloes’ 2 with the final one coming courtesy of Silva’s hip.
At the end of the match, the FHSU said a tie wouldn’t have been an unfair result as possession and scoring opportunities were split pretty evenly. The Tigers finished with 14 shots, eight of which were on goal, while the Buffaloes saw six of 12 shots find the frame.
The win kept the Tigers’ goal of being perfect at home alive.
“If we can get through it (home schedule) unscathed this year, that would be a big boost for us,” Parker said.
Silva kept that possible thanks to what he called his favorite goal of his career.
“It’s a great win for us,” Silva said.
“It felt great, man.”