Dragons nipped by Trojans, 1-0, but gain experience, confidence in the process
Warren’s boys soccer team found out a lot about themselves during Wednesday’s match with McDowell at War Memorial Field.
Unfortunately for the Dragons, that discovery came in a 1-0 loss to the Trojans.
“Sometimes, you have to lose to win,” Warren coach Denny Flatt said. “I think the loss is actually going to give us more confidence. We’re proud of the boys, they gave us everything they had.”
Everything, and then some perhaps as the teams not only battled each other, but extreme heat as well. Conditions were so severe that officials decided to stop the game at the midpoint of each half to give the teams a water break.
“Everyone sees the importance of conditioning on a hot day like this,” Flatt said.
McDowell controlled possession for most of the first 5-10 minutes of the match, but Warren’s defense didn’t allow any quality scoring chances and the Dragons were able to begin counterattacking.
The game was more balanced possession-wise heading into the water break. The minute-long rest seemed to reinvigorate both teams as each had a scoring opportunity just after the break, but were unable to cash in.
With 5:30 to go in the first half, the Trojans got on the board. A broken play ended with the ball in front of the Warren net. Juan Pablo ‘JP’ Urcelay put his foot on the ball and somehow got it to the back of the net.
“That ball 99 percent of the time doesn’t go in,” Flatt said.
Warren managed to apply some pressure before the end of the half, but McDowell was able to limit the Dragons advance and held the lead at half.
Andrew Beyer nearly tied the game seconds into the second half. He got the ball and was able to break loose down the right side, but couldn’t get a good shot off.
The early breakaway seemed to breath life into the Dragons as they controlled possession for most of the first 15 minutes of the half. They just were unable to get anything to the back of the net.
“We played well, we just missed,” Flatt said.
The momentum shifted back to the Trojans following the second half break. McDowell was able to keep the ball in the offensive zone and limit Warren’s attack.
With about six minutes to go, Tyler Gustafson and Caleb Lindell finally broke through the defense and got a rush up the middle. They got a shot off that had a chance, but McDowell keeper Mason DiGello was able to just get enough of the ball to cradle it for a goalie kick.
Warren got one final chance with just under a minute to go. Colin Blair took a corner kick from the right side and got it to Caleb Ei in front of the net. Ei got a solid header, but pushed it past the goal mouth wide.
“The kids wanted it bad,” Flatt said. “They gained more confidence as the game went on. But with teams like that, you’ve got to score goals.”
Flatt reiterated that his team played well despite the loss, and may actually be better for having lost a close game against a top team like the Trojans.
“It’s McDowell, they always field good teams,” he said. “We like playing against good teams. It shows what you need to work on and your strengths and weaknesses are vivid when you play good teams.
“We came up a little short,” Flatt added. “But we saw we could play with the big boys.”
The Dragons will get a chance to apply the lessons learned Tuesday at Fort LeBoeuf.
JV: WARREN 2, MCDOWELL 1
Ricky Madril forced a turnover and outhustled a defender down the field for his first high school goal and Ben Berdine added another tally later in the game to lead Warren to a 2-1 junior varsity win over McDowell.
“It was a hustle goal,” Warren coach Chris Darling said of Madril’s tally. “It was really good hustle.”
Roman Sheets assisted on the Berdine score.
Alex Ferry got the win in net with a complete game.
“He played the whole match and had a heckuva game,” Darling said. “He made a couple nice saves and was smart with the ball. He really did well.”
Darling said he was impressed with the way his team worked together and controlled the game, despite being short-handed due to the number of players used in the varsity game.
“We controlled possession and set the tempo of the game,” he said. “The kids are working well together.”