With the clock ticking down in a 5-5 tie, the Wichita B-52s kept on the attack, and with just 48 seconds left in regulation Byron Alvarez punched in the go-ahead goal Saturday night.
But it wasn’t just the game-winner.
Alvarez, who played four seasons for B-52s coach Kim Roentved in Kansas City, actually scored the 6,000th professional soccer goal in Wichita history – encompassing both the B-52s and the Wings.
Matt Clare provided an empty-net insurance goal 40 seconds later, and the B-52s won 7-5 at Hartman Arena.
Alvarez’s goal was his third of the game. Alex Moseley provided two unassisted goals, helping the B-52s reach the .500 mark at 6-6 with their third straight victory.
“It took awhile, but we got there fine,” Roentved said. “The reaction was after we went up 5-2, we’d already won the game. Well, no, this is indoor soccer and anything can happen.”
Few in attendance, other than B-52s personnel, were aware of the significance of Alvarez’s final goal.
“I didn’t even know about it,” Alvarez said. “I just step on the field and try to do my job, which is to score goals and try to help the team win the game.”
He said he learned of it later.
“I was on the bench, and someone said ‘This is the 6,000th goal.’ And I said, ‘Nice.’ It feels good to put my name in there so some of the fans remember that.”
Of course, Alvarez’s coach had quite a few of those 6,000.
“He probably has about a thousand under his belt,” Alvarez said. “It’s special because I played for him in Kansas City for four seasons. And now, scoring that goal for him and him being the coach, it’s kind of special.”
Roentved said scoring big goals is an Alvarez specialty.
“That’s what he does best,” Roentved said. “Whether it’s 6,000 or 5,999, he takes those scrappy goals, and that’s what he’s good at.”
The B-52s took a 4-2 halftime lead on two goals by Brent Hobson and one each from Alvarez and Moseley. Moseley’s goal pushed the B-52s ahead, 3-2, and was an acrobatic shot in front of the St. Louis net.
But the Ambush (3-7) battled back for a tie, and that served as a wakeup call on the B-52s bench.
Moseley said, “It kind of let the wind out of our sails a little bit. When you get up a few goals, you kind of start to relax, you start to have a little bit too much fun sometimes. And that’s what happened. We kind of lost our focus. In indoor, it doesn’t take that much to get right back into it.”
First quarter – 1. Wichita, Alvarez (Sebele), 7:34; 2. St. Louis, Paul (St. Louis), 11:28. Penalties: Bryant, W, (boarding), 9:56; Schmermund, StL, pushing, 12:14; St. Louis bench (too many men), 14:24.
Second quarter – 3. St. Louis, Schmermund (Sinclair), 3:04; 4. Wichita, Hobson (Alvarez), 5:24; 5. Wichita, Moseley (unassisted), 6:28; 6. Wichita, Hobson (Alvarez), 10:51. Penalties: MacGregor, StL, 5-minute misconduct for dissent, 5:05; Ordell, StL, tripping, 7:16; St. Louis bench (too many men), 12:30; Alvarez, W, holding, 14:46.
Third quarter – 7. Wichita, Moseley (unassisted), 11:38; 8. St. Louis, Ordell (MacGregor), 11:53; 9. St. Louis, St. Louis (pp) (unassisted), 13:46. Penalties: Clare, W, tripping, 13:03.
Fourth quarter – 10. St. Louis, Duarte (Gabeljic), 2:56; 11. Wichita, Alvarez (Pittman), 14:12; 12. Wichita, Clare (unassisted), 14:52.
Shots – St. Louis on Pardo, 26, 21 saves; Wichita on Crook, 37, 30 saves.