Moriarty High School’s boys soccer team hosted Rio Grande High on Sept. 10 and Belen High on Sept. 12 and lost to both schools on late goals.

In the Sept. 12 matchup against the Belen Eagles (5-3), the score remained knotted 0-0 until late in the second half.

In the 78th minute, Moriarty had its fifth corner kick of the game bounce around a scrum of players in front of the goal.Seconds later, the Eagles won possession, took the ball to the opposite side of the field and scored on a counterattack to beat the Pintos 1-0.

“We had three defenders back there and it became a three-on-one and we just didn’t defend it,” Moriarty head coach Jordan Allcorn said.

Moriarty (1-4-1) had an opportunity to score in the 46th minute when Frank McCleave was fouled inside the 6-yard area resulting in a penalty kick.

McCleave fired the PK but it clanged off the crossbar. The ball ricocheted straight back to Luca Lupes but he put too much air on it and it sailed high over the goal.“I knew it was right in front of me but I kind of leaned back too much,” Luppes said.

McCleave, who got kicked in the leg on the foul, had regrets after the game about taking the PK.

Moriarty’s Luca Luppes, left, fighting a Belen defender for possession of a corner kick in the Sept. 12 loss to the Eagles. Photo by Ger Demarest.

“I usually don’t miss those, I don’t think I’ve missed one ever,” McCleave said. “The fact that he kicked my shooting leg, I probably shouldn’t have taken it, but in my mind we were gonna finish it right there.”

“That’s what it comes down to sometimes, who can finish their opportunities—it’s a beautiful game but it can be a cruel game,” Allcorn said, adding, “It’s a heartbreaking loss but that’s how this game is, sometimes you lose when you deserve to win.”

The loss to Belen came two days after the Pintos dropped a 2-1 matchup against the Rio Grande Ravens (3-3) in similar fashion.

The Pintos and Ravens battled up and down the field in an evenly matched, scoreless first half.

In the second half, Rio Grande struck first to take a 1-0 lead.Moriarty answered when Alex Lopez found the back of the net to tie the score at 1-1.

But the Ravens scored in the final 10 minutes to seal the victory.

“They finished their chances and we didn’t,” Allcorn said. “We played well, we just couldn’t put the ball away.”

Allcorn said he thought both games “were winnable” and that his players competed well. But he noted that there are a lot of challenging games coming up and his team needs to keep getting better.

The Pintos play their third consecutive game on their home pitch Sept. 14 when they host the undefeated Los Lunas Tigers (7-0).