Central then picked up the intensity with about five shots over three minutes.
Central head coach Jim Graham, knowing a loss could mean the end of Central's title hopes, played the rest of the game with only two defenders.
The Spartans soon started looking dangerous around the Brawley penalty box but were unable to capitalize. Brawley was still playing long ball and had only a few chances at scoring.
Central goalkeeper Humberto Cardenas stopped the few shots taken by Brawley, but with only five minutes left, Jesus Canchola scored off rebound after the ball hit the top bar and rebounded into the middle of the penalty box.
Cardenas attempted to smother the rebound but was beaten to the ball by Canchola, who scored on a header.
Central kept pressuring to tie the game but the Brawley defense held on for the win.
"I knew it was going to be a battle. This was an important game for both teams. Both teams needed to win to stay in the hunt. I knew whoever scored first would win the game because it would be a tight game," said Brawley head coach Frank Felix.
Graham said, "It was a game lacking effort. Brawley wanted it a little more than we did."
Brawley (7-7-4 overall, 4-2-1 IVL) will next host Holtville while Central (7-6-4 overall, 3-3-1 IVL) will host Palo Verde.
Both games will be at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Calexico 3, Holtville 0
HOLTVILLE — The Calexico High boys soccer team had little trouble getting past Holtville High, winning 3-0 here Tuesday.
Calexico next plays at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Southwest in El Centro.
Imperial 5, Julian 1
IMPERIAL — Behind Ben Item's third hat trick of the year, the Imperial High boys soccer team clinched a share of the Desert Mountain League title with a 5-1 win over Julian here Tuesday.
Jaime Agredando and Abraham Llanes also scored goals for the Tigers (6-0 DML).
Imperial next plays at 3:15 p.m. Thursday at Mountain Empire in Pine Valley.
Southwest 6, Palo Verde 3
BLYTHE — Jorge Renteria and Alfredo Garcia both scored two goals to lead Southwest to a 6-3 win over Palo Verde here Tuesday.
The Eagles also got goals from Juan Garcia and David Rodrgiuez.
Brawley 1, Central 1
BRAWLEY — Two overtimes weren't enough to decide a winner between the Central Union and Brawley Union girls soccer teams as they played to a 1-1 tie here Tuesday.
Scoring for Brawley was Trisha Marden and scoring for the Spartans was Ana Nava.
Both teams play at 6:30 p.m. Friday, with Brawley traveling to Holtville and Central traveling to Blythe to take on Palo Verde.
Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 370-8549.