The race for the county boys soccer title could all come down to Thursday's contest between Fallston and C. Milton Wright.
Defending champion Fallston and C. Milton Wright were both undefeated against county foes going into Tuesday night's games.
If the Cougars can get past Edgewood and the Mustangs can knock off Joppatowne on Tuesday, they would set up a Thursday night showdownat Fallston at 6:45 p.m.
The Mustangs probably face the biggest Tuesday night test, since Joppatowne beat them last year, 2-1. But even if they were to lose to Joppatowne, the Mustangs could complicate the county title race -- and maybe claim a piece of it for themselves -- by knocking off Fallston.
"It could be a big scramble, or one of us could win it outright. It's too soon to tell," said Fallston coach Len Petrey.
"Either way, it'll be a big game. I hope a lot of people come out to see it."
The Cougars (7-2 overall, 3-0 league) are ranked No. 8 by The Sun. Even C. Milton Wright coach Paul Snyder said Fallston would be the pregame favorite.
"We will have to play almost error-free soccer," said Snyder.
"If we do that, and they let down for a span of 20 or 30 minutes, then I think we can win. We can't make any big mistakes, or we will lose."
The Mustangs (7-1, 4-0) are unranked. Petrey said they probably have a better offense than the Cougars have seen against county competition.
The Cougars will have to stop striker Rodney Bralich, who scored the only goal in the Mustangs' 1-0 victory over North Harford last Thursday.
The senior captain scored his goal on an assist from George Albany 16 minutes into the game. The C. Milton Wright defense, led by keeper Joe Reinhardt, sweeper Jason Zarzycki and halfback Ryan Strasburg, shut down the Hawks to preserve the victory.
Reinhardt had 11 saves, including a spectacular diving effort with 10 minutes left in the game.
"They put a lot of pressure on us defensively," said Snyder. "They play on that football field with the football lines, so there's no room on the sides. They force you into the middle of the field, and it just becomes a big pounding match."
The Mustangs, however, will face even more pressure from Fallston, which boasts some of the top defenders in the league, including All-Metro sweeper Chris Eatough as well as Dan Bowers and Rob D'Angelo.
Last Thursday night, the Cougars shut out Bel Air, 2-0. Shane Dougherty had both goals, while Eatough and Tom Gould had assists.
Dougherty brought his scoring total to 10 goals and nine assists, while Gould now has 11 goals and three assists.
Fallston scored a goal early in each quarter against a packed-in Bel Air defense. Bel Air tried to trip up the Cougars attack by bringing all but one player down on defense. Petrey countered by moving stopper Shaun Lavin up into the offense.
"We didn't have a tremendous number of shots," said Petrey.
"But this was one of our better games as far as passing. In the second half, our short passing game looked better than it had maybe since the Loyola game (Sept. 13)."
Goalie Steve Chaires got his first start after recovering from a thigh injury in the Loyola game. He tallied five saves. Jason Hunsinger, who took over for Chaires, came in late in the game, recording onesave.
The Cougars also got an outstanding performance from midfielder Joe Poling.