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PREP SOCCER: Gonzales' two goals lift Bentonville to win

by Rick Fires | April 20, 2021 at 7:01 a.m.

BENTONVILLE -- Gael Gonzales didn't miss again after he shot way high after a penalty kick.

Gonzales scored two goals and Bentonville went on to defeat Rogers Heritage 3-1 in 6A-West Conference action Monday at the Tiger Athletic Complex.

Both of Gonzales' goals came in the second half after Noah Blake scored to give Bentonville a 1-0 lead at halftime.

The two goals by Gonzales proved to be huge after Antonio Hurtado scored to cut the Bentonville lead to 2-1 with 22 minutes, 12 seconds left in the game. Gonzales scored first on an assist from Andrew Wagner and his second goal came on an assist from Johnny Merlos to give the Tigers a 3-1 cushion with 2:33 left.

The two goals came after Gonzales shot over the Heritage net on a scoring opportunity in the second half.

"On the first goal, Andrew Wagner did all of the work for me," Gonzales said. "On the second goal, Johnny put in a perfect ball and I just finished it. I've had some bad luck these past couple of games. So, it felt good to put a couple into the back of the net."

Monday's game was a rematch from March 30 when Bentonville and Rogers Heritage tied 2-2. Bentonville entered the game with some momentum after beating Fort Smith Southside 6-0 last Friday while Heritage lost 2-1 to Springdale Har-Ber.

"I think we've played well all year, but some of our results haven't shown that," Bentonville coach Mike Devaney said. "The last couple of games we've been very good in front of the goal. That's a very good team we beat (Monday) and I'm very pleased with our performance."

Heritage (4-2-4) had two more chances for scores in the second half in addition to Hurtado's goal. Both opportunities came after Bentonville defender Adrian Greth and goalkeeper Evan Shanks were issued a yellow cards. But the attempts by the War Eagles failed to result in a shot on goal.

Blake gave Bentonville (5-2-3) the lead six minutes into the game after he gained control in a crowded area and kicked hard into the Heritage net for the only scored of the first half.

There weren't many other scoring opportunities in the first half beside's Blake's goal. Gonzales ran down a loose ball for Bentonville from the left side but he shot into the side of the Heritage net with a Heritage defender converging quickly on the play. Merlos, who scored goals last week in a tie with Springdale Har-Ber, kicked wide of the net when he gained some space inside the box with about five minutes to play.

Heritage had only three shots on goal in the first half against the Tigers.

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