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BOYS HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER: Odessa High clinches playoff spot with victory over Midland High - Odessa American: Sports

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BOYS HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER: Odessa High clinches playoff spot with victory over Midland High

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Posted: Tuesday, March 5, 2019 11:50 pm

MIDLAND After taking over first place in the District 2-6A standings Friday night, the Odessa High boys soccer team entered Tuesday night’s game at Midland High looking to extend its stay on the top spot.

The Bronchos were able to do exactly that, defeating the Bulldogs 1-0 on a chilly evening at Grande Communications Stadium.

A second-half goal from Cain Cordova ultimately proved to be the difference as Odessa High (10-6-4 overall, 5-0-2 district) also clinched a playoff spot with the victory.

“I’m very happy with how our guys played tonight,” Odessa High head coach Eliseo Ortiz said. “Midland High is a great team and we were able to win this game with just that one goal and get a great result out of it.”

Getting that result proved to be a tough challenge early on as Midland High (9-5-4, 3-2-2) controlled possession early and was able to get a couple of decent looks early in the half.

However, the Bulldogs were unable to get anything in the back of the net.

“I thought we started off pretty well for the first 20 minutes,” Midland High head coach Jason Bush said. “We were able to take it to them during that stretch.”

After those first 20 minutes, Odessa High started to settle in and get a couple of chances as well.  One of the best opportunities came off of a free kick about midway through the first half.

Jose Leyva put the ball on line in front of the goal and Nana Prempeh was able to get a head on it, but Midland High goalkeeper Noah Venegas punched the ball out to clear it away.

The score stayed deadlocked at 0-0 at halftime and nearly midway into the second half before the Bronchos broke through in the 58th minute.

Odessa High forward Alan Rubio took the ball down the right side of the field and fired a shot on goal from just outside of the box.

The shot was blocked, but Cordova was in the right position to put the ball in with his right foot to give the Bronchos the lead and, ultimately, the win.

“Once I saw Alan take that shot, I was just ready to get that rebound,” Cordova said. “Once I saw the ball come to me, I just took advantage and put it in the back of the net.”

“We kind of let down a little bit in the second half,” Bush said. “I thought we were a little flat-footed and they took it to us. They were able to get that opportunity to put it away.”

The victory maintains the two-point advantage the Bronchos have in the district standings over Wolfforth Frenship, which also won Tuesday night.

As Odessa High goes into the last three games of the season, Ortiz called the result a big step forward.

“In previous years, we’ve been in first place but haven’t been able to win close games like this,” he said. “They’re changing the culture of Odessa High soccer one game at a time and this is one of those steps to do that and I’m just very happy for them.”

>>Follow Tony Venegas on Twitter at @OA_TVenegas

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