Blazers look sloppy but bury local rival Springbrook 2-0
OCT. 3, SPRINGBROOK—
The Blair boys' varsity soccer team won their fifth straight game Tuesday afternoon, beating local rival Springbrook 2-0 in lackadaisical fashion. The Blazers (5-0) came into the game riding high after consecutive wins over Wheaton, Sherwood, Churchill and Quince Orchard, but played shoddy against a winless opponent on a bumpy, tilted field and escaped with an unsatisfying win.
Although head coach Adrian Baez was pleased with the win, he was disappointed in the team's demeanor on the field, calling their play "a little sloppy." Baez was also worried that the team had an air of superiority that led them to play down to Springbrook's level. "I knew coming in that they [Springbrook] hadn't won any games, but they're always tough," he said.
Yet even the Blazers' weakest performance of the season yielded a win. Blair's domination in the midfield and skill on set pieces fueled the team to victory on a day when the Blazers' faced the possibility of a letdown between big games.
Blair was frustrated by many wasted chances, reflected in a yellow card handed down to senior midfielder Mikey Worden, who balked at a missed foul call by the referee in the 29th minute.
The Blazers' best opportunity on goal in the first half came after Worden was hauled down just outside the goalie box. Senior midfielder Josh Zipin fired a rocket that fooled the Blue Devils' goalkeeper but banged off the crossbar. Blair's defense, led by senior sweeper Alex Assare-Wassow, held Springbrook to just a handful of shots through forty minutes of play, and although the Blazers clearly dominated the field in the first half, the Silver Spring rivals went into halftime with a scoreless tie.
Blair finally broke the tie three minutes into the second half, when Zipin lofted a corner kick into the box. After the ball was fisted wide by the Blue Devils' goalie, senior forward Matias Salinas headed the ball inside the far post for his team-leading fourth goal of the season, giving the Blazers a 1-0 lead.
The Blazers were on the attack again in the 74th minute when senior forward Lamboni Yendoukah's shot was knocked down by a Springbrook defender's arm inside the box. Although a handball was called, the referee placed the ball just outside the box despite Blair's complaints.
Two minutes later, Yendoukah launched a second shot on goal, which caromed off a Blue Devil's shoulder. In what was a clearly makeup call, a handball was called and the Blazers were awarded a penalty kick. Yendoukah clanged the penalty off the crossbar, but Blair was given a second chance after Springbrook's goalie was called for coming off the goal line too early. After the Blazers argued over who would take the second kick Yendoukah was ejected for cursing on the field. Worden stepped up to take the shot, and slid the ball past the goalie to give Blair a 2-0 lead.
Senior goalie Matt McClain and the Blazers' defense held the Blue Devils scoreless in the final five minutes of play to preserve the win and Blair's undefeated record.
After Blair's recent victories over last year's state champion Sherwood and Churchill, the #4-ranked team in the region at the time, coach Baez was unimpressed by the Blazers' victory over a lowly opponent. Baez hoped the team could regain its chemistry before their matchup with Watkins Mill, the #3-ranked team in the region. "We're going to be working hard to get back up to speed and to get our quick touches sharp," said Baez. "We're looking to go into Saturday's game the same way we did against Churchill."
The boys' varsity soccer team's next home game is on Saturday, Oct. 7 vs. Watkins Mill at 10 A.M.
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 »