Blazers dominate defending state champs in 3-1 win, remain undefeated
SEPT. 20, BLAZER STADIUM-
The Blair boys' varsity soccer team dominated the defending state champion Sherwood Warriors last night en route to a 3-1 victory that made the Blazers' presence known as a force in Montgomery County soccer and served as a coming out party for sophomore midfielder Mikey Funes.
Funes scored two second-half goals, including a perfect free kick from 25 yards out, that propelled the Blazers to victory. The rest of the team couldn't help but take notice of the youngster's stellar performance against one of the toughest teams in the region. "Mikey definitely came up big this game, he was our playmaker on the left side," said senior defender Ethan Kuhnhenn. "He sent some amazing crosses into the box that should have been finished, and his free kick goal was just a testament to how powerful and accurate of a shot he has."
Blair dominated possession for the majority of the first half, putting on pressure on Sherwood's freshman goalie, Drew Hock, who although he eventually gave up a trio of goals, was spectacular in the net. The breakthrough for the Blazers came in the 38th minute, when senior Matias Salinas was undercut in the box, setting up a penalty kick. Senior co-captain Michael Worden fooled the goalie and put Blair up 1-0 on the PK.
Coming out of halftime, the Blazers looked like a team on a mission, controlling the midfield and creating chance after chance on the offensive end. A handful of offsides called on senior striker Lamboni Yendoukah cost Blair some point-blank opportunities, but the Blazers tried time after time to slip through balls into the box. In the 45th minute, Worden's jersey was yanked and a foul was called on Sherwood, setting up Funes' beautiful free kick. The shot rocketed into the upper left corner of the goal, just escaping Hock's outstretched arms and putting Blair up 2-0.
Sherwood finally got on the scoreboard in the 59th minute, when Blair goalie Matt McClain came off his line to knock away a cross. McClain was beaten to the ball by the head of Sherwood midfielder Mike Berzins, who knocked the ball into the back of the net. Suddenly, with the Blazers clinging to a one-goal lead, the game's pace changed considerably " the Warriors found themselves one break away from tying a game in which they had been dominated for nearly 60 minutes.
The frantic pace of the game continued through the entire second half, until the 90th minutes, when after a flurry of Blair chances on net, defender Noel Aguirre chipped the ball into the box. Funes came from out of nowhere to challenge the goalie, leaping into the air and poking the ball over Hock's head for his second goal of the game and putting Blair ahead for good, 3-1.
The Blazers' first game was a 4-1 win over the Wheaton Knights last week. Salinas scored two goals in the game, and Funes and senior co-captain Alec McLean each added a goal to sink the overmatched Knights. Blair is now 2-0, and the Blazers will face perrenial regional power Churchill at home Monday.
Abe Schwadron. Abe is a huge basketball, baseball, and football fan that likes to read up on sports in SLAM, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN magazines. Hobbies include streetball, poker and film-making. A sneaker addict, Abe likes to keep his kicks fresh. Abe likes reggae and hip-hop music, … More »