For a moment, it looked like they had a chance.
League opponent St. Joseph-Notre Dame High School from Alameda did not start out playing like other opponents the Richmond High girls’ soccer team had faced all year; the Pilots’ ball handing skills, passing, and intensity seemed to match that of the Oilers. The first eleven minutes featured back and forth play, resulting in scoreless soccer.
But the even nature of the contest was broken by two goals in eight minutes for the Pilots. One shot hit the crossbar and bounced straight down, just inside the goal line. The second came on a free kick from 30 yards out.
The back-to-back strikes took away any energy the Oilers had to start the game, and after 80 minutes of action they were defeated 6-0. The Oilers are still winless this season after 14 games.
Tuesday’s match showcased the style of soccer that has frustrated Richmond head coach Felipe Franco all season. “You guys are not playing. You aren’t running,” said Franco to his players during halftime. “We are lazy today.”
At the half, the score was only 2-0, but the Oilers did not look like they had the fight to get back into the game. They struggled to control the ball for long periods, avoided contact when trying to gain back possession and were not able to get scoring chances on the Pilots’ goal.
“We have played better than this game,” said captain Joselyn Cortez to her teammates during the break. “We can try hard and we can do this.”
The Oilers had indeed played better games than Tuesday night’s. Only a few weeks earlier, against neighboring Salesian High School, the Oilers lost to the Pride in a 1-0 match, a performance that Franco thought showed his team was improving.
But since the Salesian match, the Oilers have lost three times by a combined score of 19-0, culminating in Tuesday night’s loss. “The way that they played today is probably the worst I have seen them play,” said Franco.
With only six more regular season games, the Oilers are running out of time to collect their first win on the year. The girls play next at St. Mary’s High School at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.