The Blazers’ impeccable defense led to great opportunities for scoring on offense
On Sept. 18, the Blair Blazers (3-0) encountered the Springbrook Blue Devils (2-2), with both teams looking to achieve their third win of the season. Blair left the pitch with their streak still intact after overcoming Springbrook 4-2.
The Blazers had a perfect start to the game, hitting the crossbar in less than three minutes of kick-off. Two minutes later, junior midfielder Owen Boots found the opener by flicking it past Springbook’s keeper from a corner.
The Blue Devils responded to this goal promptly, going on the offensive and utilizing swift counter-attacks. Their wingers relentlessly dribbled and charged at Blair’s back line, even forcing an impressive foot-save out of junior goalkeeper Caleb Johnson.
With 26 minutes left in the half, the Blazers finally caved to Springbrook’s pressure. Their striker timed his run perfectly, surpassing Blair’s offside trap ploy and rendering the defenders powerless before firing one into the top netting.
Despite drawing level, Springbook didn’t let up and instead increased their intensity. They continued to find and exploit gaps in Blair’s defense, evidently exhausting defenders. A last-ditch tackle from junior defender Quinn Kelly helped Blair keep a grasp on the game.
The last 10 minutes of the half saw the Blazers regain their footing in the game and do a much better job at stifling Springbrook’s explosive attacks. This allowed them to spend more time in the Blue Devils’ final third and put the pressure back on Springbrook.
Neither team was able to snatch the lead in the first half regardless of the several dangerous chances and heading into the second, the score remained 1-1.
With the start of the second half, the Blazers came right out the gate with an early corner goal from senior forward and captain Gabe Marra-Perrault in the 38th minute, putting the Blazers in front, 2-1. After the terrific start, the Blazers continued to produce a great defensive outing, stopping the Blue Devils at any attempt to get the ball downfield.
The Blazers' defense continued to improve as they had numerous steals which led to great ball movement. Any attempt the Blue Devils took to get the ball moving simply resulted in more steals from Boots. In the 30th minute Boots' steal led to a push by the Blazers, resulting in a dramatic hit off the crossbar and goal by Boots, bringing the Blazers up by two.
As minutes passed, the Blue Devils continued their abysmal offensive performance with very minimal passes, as the Blazer midfielders pounced on every opportunity to get the ball. In the final twenty minutes of the match, the Blazers continued their consistency on defense with many great hustle steals. On offense they showed the same pose, as senior midfielder Ian-Austin Ngwatung was able to display some eye-catching moves maneuvering his way around Blue Devil defenders.
During the last ten minutes of the game, the Blazers had great control of the ball attempting to run the clock down. In the eighth minute, a free kick goal from senior forward Alejandro Dubon made the score 4-1, putting an exclamation mark on their great performance. However, three minutes later, the Blue Devils came right back with a goal of their own as the goalie box was left with Johnson scrambling towards the left, leaving the middle unattended for an open goal.
Nevertheless, this goal was not enough to stop the Blazers as they finished the game 4-2, winning their third game in a row.
Boots spoke of Blair's improved performance after the first half and what they could have done better. "I think we came out a little cocky in the first half and then picked it up in the second half, definitely showed. Tracking back in the middle, a lot of our midfielders stayed up too high. But I think if we track back more and don't let them get as many opportunities we won't be missing as many goals."
The Blazers' next home game is Thursday, Sept. 21 at 3:45 PM against Sherwood (makeup).
Mooti Chimdi. Hi I'm Mooti (he/him). Besides writing for SCO, I like to eat and go for walks. More »
Caleb Elazar. Hey I'm Caleb, I'm on writing staff and I like playing soccer, listening to music and spending time with my friends and family. More »