First league match for Richmond soccer ends in a tie
on December 12, 2012
Tuesday afternoon’s match featured many of the mistakes that have frustrated Richmond High School boys soccer co-head coaches Jasko Begovic and Rene Siles so far this season: defenders misplaying balls in their defensive zone, players not looking like they want the ball in pressure situations, and minutes wasting away before the team turns on another gear.
But with the 2012-13 season still just beginning, Tuesday’s 1-1 tie against St. Mary’s High School in Albany counted as a small step in the right direction for the Oilers.
“I do feel like we could have done better,” said center-defender Cesar Cardenas. “I feel like this team really is talented and we have a lot of heart.”
The match began slowly for both sides, but a series of defensive mistakes by the Oilers gave the Panthers chance after chance to take the lead. Each attempt stayed out of the Oilers’ goal, either shot wide or into the goalkeeper’s arms.
The match was tied at zero after 40 minutes.
“We got lucky there,” Begovic said after the match. “That we were not three goals down with the gifts we gave them.”
Both teams played evenly for part of the second half. The Oilers’ Erik Montes had an attempt go just wide past the lower-right corner of the goal. But eight minutes into the half, the Panthers struck with a header off of a corner kick to take the lead.
After the goal by the Panthers the sense of urgency from the Oilers players on the field, and coaches on the bench, was heightened.
The Oilers began attacking the Panthers goal with more intensity, and had back-to-back chances off corner kicks. After the second, the Oiler players called unsuccessfully for a handball against a St. Mary’s player in the penalty area.
On the sideline, Begovic and Siles discussed strategy. Often Begovic would motion back and forth with his fingers pointed, describing some tactical aspect of the match to his fellow co-head coach. When not talking to Begovic on the sidelines, Siles would pace back and forth in front of the Oilers’ bench, as his team searched for a tying goal.
Seventeen minutes into the half, the Oilers finally broke through. A Panthers defender tackled one of the Oiler players, in the penalty area, which led to a penalty kick opportunity for the Oilers. Senior midfielder Erik Montes calmly slammed it past the Panther’s goalkeeper to tie the score at one.
Both teams continued to trade scoring opportunities for the remaining part of the half. The Oilers best chance at taking the lead came on a header-attempt with two minutes remaining.
The match against St. Mary’s was the first league meeting on the season for the Oilers, whose record now stands at 0-2-3 on the season. With his team still searching for its first win on the season, Montes was not ready to claim Saturday’s tie as a moral victory.
“To be honest that really didn’t seem like a very good game, not just for me, but for a lot of players,” he said. “We have to get used to losing, because the best team loses too. We have to get used to playing with each other and start winning games.”
After the game, the players stretched, changed and then formed a semi-circle around their coaches.
“It was too late when you guys started playing,” said Begovic, urging his players to play consistently for an entire 80 minutes. “Let’s put them under pressure, let’s go, let’s attack, let’s try to score. Play with that fire in your belly from the beginning.”
Cardenas attributed his team’s mistakes to a lack of focus, but also a lack of experience.
“This is a new team, with a lot of young players who haven’t been playing at this level. High school is really fast compared to club soccer,” Cardenas said. “I feel like just gaining that experience, slowly but surely they will get it.”
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