HOOD RIVER — It should have been a lot easier, but in the tightly bunched Intermountain Conference standings, the HRV boys will take three points any way they can.
The Eagles scored twice in the first half and twice late in the second to hand Pendleton its fourth defeat of the season by a score of 5-1.
“We knew they wouldn’t be very good, so I think we sort of played down to their level,” said junior striker Jake Pruitt, who notched his second goal of 2002 late in the first half.
Matt Dallman, Alex Ponce, Tony Diaz and Obed Garduño also scored in a game that saw HRV dominate from the outset, but uncharacteristically let down in the second half.
HRV (5-0-2) controlled the tempo from the opening whistle, with slick one-touch passing and perfectly timed through balls down the wings. Dallman and Dereck Ponce dominated the middle of the field, while the center defense of Alvaro Lara and Andy Holmson was impenetrable.
The Eagles took a 2-0 lead into halftime, but appeared to let down after Dallman scored his fourth goal of the season in the first minute of the second half.
That’s about the time Pendleton decided that it had had enough, and began to outhustle the Eagles to every ball. Jesus Reyes finally got Pendleton on the scoreboard on a diving header in the box, and nearly made it two just minutes later.
Dallman had a chance to put the game away with a penalty kick, but couldn’t find the net, which rallied the Buckaroos into thinking it was a game.
Late goals by Garduño (35th minute) and Diaz (38th minute) put the game out of reach, but not before the Eagles realized they still have work to do.
“We’re not going to beat Mountain View the second time around if we play like this,” said sophomore Sean Rawson, who has given the Eagles a much-needed spark in the midfield the past few games.
Rawson and the Eagles will host rival Redmond on Tuesday and travel to Bend on Oct. 11.