Sometimes scorelines alone don’t accurately illustrate the narrative of a game, and such is the case for Tuesday afternoon’s 5A nonregion matchup between Farmington and Olympus.
The final box score may suggest that Farmington’s 1-0 victory over Olympus was a close, nail-biting affair, but that was not the case. After scoring in under six minutes, the Phoenix controlled play for the majority of the remaining stages of the game and were just a few missed opportunities away from a scoresheet that would’ve had a much more dominating appearance.
“We’re relying on (our backline) this year to help us close out games. They’re a close group and they’ve been working hard at it.” — Farmington coach Aaron Soelberg
Despite converting on just one of many goal-scoring opportunities, the Phoenix and their head coach Aaron Soelberg were still pleased to record their third clean sheet of the season and improve to 4-0 to start this year’s campaign.
“The boys have been focusing on trying to lockdown the defense and hold shutouts,” said Soelberg. “It wasn’t our best game today, but we did enough to secure the win.”
Farmington’s back line — piloted by senior captain Grant Weeks and junior Trey Hammond — played a strong, commanding game and were the driving force behind the shutout of Olympus.
“We’re relying on (our backline) this year to help us close out games. They’re a close group and they’ve been working hard at it,” said Soelberg.
Nearly seven minutes after Farmington’s opening goal, Olympus appeared to score the equalizer on a quick counterattack, but the line judge raised his flag for offside.
Soelberg said that scare gave his defense a jolt that it needed to be dominant the rest of the game. “I think that moment was a wake-up call for them. From there they kind of settled in and did a really good job,” he said.
Farmington’s Cameron Bingham once again found the back of the net when he converted the quick, opening goal for the Phoenix off of an assist from senior forward Spencer Wall. Bingham now has five goals through Farmington’s first four games.
The Phoenix also received stellar play from junior Abe Ashby, who was filling in at the No. 10 role while fellow junior, midfielder Chandler Gunn, was away playing for National League club Sparta. Ashby displayed great control of the ball and provided a steady pace to Farmington as Olympus frantically sought the equalizer.
“(Ashby) has been a nice source of energy and a great spark in the middle,” said Soelberg. “(Bingham) is a really good goal-hunter and if we can get Abe to find some too, that’ll be a really good duo going forward since they’re both only juniors.”
Olympus struggled to get out of its own half of the field for the majority of the game, but it did make a few spurts forward into Farmington territory but the Titans were swallowed up by Farmington’s defenders. Farmington looked susceptible to the counterattack at times, but displayed excellent recovery speed whenever it was caught flat-footed.
Olympus’ goalkeeper Yien Rout made a handful of great saves throughout the game, highlighted by a sliding stop against Ashby that required him to come running off his line to prevent what could’ve been an easy second goal for Farmington 15 minutes before halftime. Anything less than the sure-handed performance Rout delivered likely would’ve resulted in more goals for Farmington.
Even though his team is off to an undefeated start, Soelberg said that the Phoenix are really still learning how to properly play with each other and are just beginning to scratch the surface of their potential.
“Yeah, we’ve played three games before this but I still think that the boys are trying to find that chemistry,” said Soelberg. “It’s coming along. Obviously there’s lows and there’s highs, but today we weren’t on our ‘A game.’”
When asked what grade his team deserved for its performance if not an ‘A’, Soelberg said, laughingly, “It was a solid ‘B plus’ game.”
Farmington will try and extend its undefeated start to 5-0 Monday against Pleasant Grove.