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Bulldog defender Cesar Leyva battles a rocket forward for the ball during the first half Tuesday at The Mack. (Brienne Green - Daily Press)

Bulldog defender Cesar Leyva battles a rocket forward for the ball during the first half Tuesday at The Mack. (Brienne Green – Daily Press)

The Bulldog soccer team outshot Goddard Tuesday at the Mack Chase Athletic Complex. They outfinessed them, as well. The only thing they didn’t do, unfortunately, was win.

On a night that saw the ‘Dogs play some of their most skillful soccer to date, taking a 1-1 tie with the Rockets through 68 minutes of soccer, a goal by Goddard in the final nine minutes of the game spelled the end. The Rockets followed with a third around six minutes later to round out the final, 3-1, and bring a disappointing end to Artesia’s final home game of 2016.

More frustrating still was the fact that 1-1 score could easily have been a 1-0 lead for the Bulldogs, as Goddard picked up the game’s first goal just over one minute in on a shot from beyond the 18 that found Artesia’s keeper playing up. Assuming the shot was off the mark, the goalie didn’t go back after it, and it bounced into the net.

But the ‘Dogs didn’t let the deficit stand for long, scoring just over a minute later to knot the score.

Artesia had numerous chances to take the lead in a solid first half that saw them outshoot the Rockets 11-7, with a number of attempts saved, sailing just over the net, or being blocked by Goddard defenders. The Bulldogs also dominated possession, passing well and controlling the ball at midfield.

Artesia came out the aggressor to start the second 40 minutes, as well, missing a header in the fourth minute and having a solid shot saved in the 19th. But at the 31-minute mark, the Rockets were finally able to break the tie on a hard shot in front of the net, and their third and final came via a free kick at 37:30.

With the loss, the ‘Dogs drop to 0-5 in district play heading into their final game of the season at 1 p.m. Saturday versus Roswell High in Roswell.