Goaltender Eric Rhomberg knocked away a penalty kick by Wootton's Suk Lee with four minutes to play yesterday to preserve a 1-0 victory for Walter Johnson in a Montgomery County A League soccer clash of unbeatens at Walter Johnson.
Marcio Couto scored the only goal when he headed in a corner kick with 11 minutes left.
The first-place Spartans now have a 3-0 overall and league record. Wootton, fresh off a 3-1 conquest Saturday of defending state Class A Champion Woodward, is 2-1.
Walter Johnson coach Joe Grimaldi who took his Spartans to the state final two years ago, said, "I'm very happy with the outcome. The old man wants to win it back.
"Eric's just a fine athlete, student and person," Grimaldi said of Rhomberg, who made two other saves in the final three minutes as Wootton pressed on offense. "He reminds me of (former WJ all-Met) Fred Shear."
After a Walter Johnson defender had been called for jumping in on a play in the penalty area, Wootton coach Bob Sedam selected Lee, the junior forward who had scored a goal in each of the Patriot's first two games, to take the free shot.
Rhomberg timed his dive to the left perfectly and batted Lee's ground shot out of bounds. On the ensuing corner kick, the Spartan goalie caught a hard shot to his right by wing John Kwamya. With a minute left, he knocked a hard, 20-yard shot by Any Yeatman over the goal and out of danger.
Couto's goal was the first breakthrough after a battle of midfielders in the first half. A corner kick by half back Tim Potter sailed to the far right of the net, from where Couto nudged the ball into the goal before Wootton goalie Dan Moyer could recover.
"It was a good game," noted Grimaldi. "They were playing our front line tight and wouldn't let us use our short passing game. So we tried to go over the top of them and use our speed, which we don't have that much of."