Robert E. Lee used second-half goals from Rolando Aparicio and Erik Mojarro coupled with stellar shot stopping from keeper Anthony Pirtle to defeat John Tyler 2-0 Tuesday in a district matchup of longtime rivals at Red Raider Field.
"Both goals were fantastic and I thought Pirtle played a great game, especially in the final five minutes of the first half," REL coach Marty Germany said. "We gave up a couple chances and he came up big time and that is what we ask him to do."
Pirtle denied John Tyler on numerous occasions in the match while also getting some help from his defense in clearing a ball off the line. The Lions forced Pirtle to make eight saves.
The Red Raiders had a goal controversially disallowed in the first half with JT nearly taking the lead twice in the final minute. Devan Salazar was played in behind REL's defense on consecutive breakaways and both times Pirtle was equal to the challenge with sliding saves.
"If we would've scored that first one, the game would've been different, but we didn't," JT coach Pakaal Mendoza said. "We just have to keep working hard and we are (moving forward) to the next game."
The Red Raiders gained three valuable points in the district standings, moving REL (3-3-1 1-0 11 points) from seventh place to a tie for third. John Tyler (2-3-2 1-2 10 points) dropped from third to seventh.
REL thought it had taken the lead with 20 minutes remaining in the first half after a ball was played in the box off a free kick by Edgar Sanchez and both teams attempted to get possession.
Sergio Saucedo finally did, scoring among a mass of players. His celebration was short-lived with the linesman disallowing the goal.
"The linesman called offsides and said the kid came out of the goal and onto the field and shot it, but it was Sergio that shot it," Germany said.
The half ended scoreless with John Tyler having the better chances.
The second half began with JT pushing to take the lead. Salazar thought he had scored with 21 minutes remaining only for the ball to be cleared off the line back out to Jose Sanchez, who attempted a bicycle kick that was pushed over the bar by an alert Pirtle.
Two minutes later, Lee's Erick Molina raced down the wing and delivered a cross that was met perfectly by Aparicio with a header into the corner.
John Tyler tried to reestablish its hold on the game, but buoyed by the goal, Lee started taking control and was rewarded with a second goal.
A deep ball was played by Sanchez that the Lions allowed to bounce, putting Mojarro and JT keeper Jose Mendoza in a sprint against each other near the top of the box to try to reach the ball first. Mojarro won and was able to head the ball over Mendoza and into an empty net.
"Two subs (figured in the goals) with Erick Molina the assist on the first one and Erik Mojarro coming and getting the header on the second one," Germany said. "Both came off the bench and came in and made a contribution and that is what we are looking for.
"We are going to have to grind every game out because there aren't any easy games in this district."