With his team trailing by a goal late in the second half Thursday night against Falls Church, Hayfield boys’ soccer Coach Dan Drickey ran down the sideline pumping his fist in celebration after officials assessed a red card to the Jaguars for a foul in front of the net.
Soon after, Drickey turned his back to the field and went to the track, kneeled and covered his face with his hand. After the program endured the previous two seasons with just five total wins, this spring’s undefeated mark was at stake, on senior night no less. He couldn’t watch what was about to happen.
Kelvin Centeno’s penalty kick was saved by Falls Church keeper Juan Lopez. But officials penalized Lopez for moving too early on the ball, and Centeno didn’t waste his second chance. He beat Lopez in the top right corner to tie the game, and No. 8 Hayfield did just enough to survive in overtime to stay unbeaten with a 1-1 draw in a key AAA National District game in Alexandria.
“This is a team of destiny,” Drickey said. “They’re playing for each other. . . . We do fitness together, and we train together, and when someone messes up, we suffer together.”
Hayfield (9-0-1, 4-0-1) had a chance to take the lead on a wild play in the second minute of overtime. But a 20-yard shot by Jayden Jones hit the crossbar, and the rebound attempt was saved by Lopez, who said everything worked in “slow motion” Thursday.
“I have to keep my teammates up,” Lopez said of rebounding after giving up the game-tying score and helping his team earn a draw despite finishing the game down two players. “I have to keep them alive and energetic, and keep them moving.”
On a night when it had an opportunity to pull closer in the AAA National District standings, Falls Church (5-3-2, 3-1-1) nearly seized it — repelling wave after wave of Hayfield scoring pushes after the Jaguars were left shorthanded by their first red card, assessed minutes into the second half.
The Hawks were stunned early when Falls Church junior Carlos Gutierrez found a wide-open net seven minutes in after Hayfield’s goalkeeper misplayed a ball off the left side of the box.
After the first red card was levied, Falls Church played in prevent defense mode for the rest of the night.
Late in regulation, Drickey left his post on the sideline to wave his arms at the crowd in order to incite noise during a corner kick. It was a much different game from last year’s blowouts between the teams — both won by Falls Church by a combined score of 11-2 — and it fully announced the revival of Hayfield.
“The crowd we had here tonight, is the biggest soccer crowd we’ve had in forever,” Drickey said. “We have a motto in the building, about starting at the bottom, and working our way up.”