“It’s not the result we wanted, but I think the boys played with a lot of heart. And we look forward to the rest of the season,” is what senior midfielder Dash Franklin said after the boys’ soccer team fell to the Palo Alto Vikings 2-1 on Wednesday night.
M-A dominated the ball in the first 10 minutes, however, they struggled to move the ball into attacking positions. Sophomore defender Noah De Haaff looked several times to push the ball forward by making long passes up the field, however each time the passes were intercepted and the Bears weren’t able to start an attack.
Despite early offensive struggles, midway through the half senior defender Ntsika Mtwa put a ball in the box where freshman right winger Nicolas Cortez Reyes got a head on the ball but put it just wide of the goal. While M-A dominated the ball, the better opportunities in the first half came from the Vikings, including a cross into the box which had de Haaff not gotten a head on the ball, would have landed in front of a Paly attacker for a shot.
Junior goalkeeper Chase Trigg was forced into action several times in the waning minutes of the 1st half. With six minutes to go, Trigg was forced to punch out an incoming ball from a free kick. Then again with three minutes left, Paly put a cross into the box which left an open net for the attack; however, a fantastic save by Trigg kept the game scoreless. With only a minute to go in the half, Trigg was once again needed and made a crucial save with his feet. The half ended scoreless, with Paly getting three shots on goal compared to M-A’s zero. The second half started with Paly looking to break the deadlock. A low cross two minutes in was easily snuffed out by Trigg, but Paly continued to bring the attack. Nine minutes into the half, M-A blocked a Paly shot, and afterward, the Bears had to deal with another cross into the box.
With 28 minutes left, Paly finally found its breakthrough. A poor giveaway by the M-A defense gave the Paly attack a one-on-one with Trigg who was unable to save a strong shot, leaving the Bears down 1-0.
Despite not showing much energy in the attacking half for most of the game, M-A found a level that it had been unable to reach previously. De Haaff finally found his man down the field in junior forward Cameron Leung. Leung gathered the ball, took a dribble and ri
pped a shot that ricocheted off a defender and into the goal, evening the score at 1-1 only one minute after going down.
M-A took the momentum of the goal and quickly mounted another attack, however, a weak shot from Leung in a dangerous position was saved easily with 25 minutes left. After these two moments of exciting attacks, the Bears’ offense went dormant for the majority of the time remaining.
Paly got back into its attacking rhythm and with 16 minutes remaining a cross into the box was headed into the goal, giving Paly a 2-1 lead.
Outside of a handful of crosses that Paly easily dealt with, M-A was unable to get any offense going until late in the game.
With two minutes left, M-A began pushing players forward and quickly moving the ball up the field. A last-minute attack almost equalized the game for the Bears, but a shot from senior Aryah Agah hit the crossbar and, shortly after, the final whistle blew.
Franklin spoke on the performance after the game saying “Obviously, we have a lot of injuries but we can’t really blame that at the end of the day, it’s our second game, you know we still haven’t totally clicked as a team, but we’re just gonna get better and better.”
Leung added, “Even though we lost I think we will do very well this season.”