The East Jefferson Rivals boys soccer team’s losing skid moved to three straight after a close 3-2 defeat by the feet of Seattle Christian School Saturday in Port Townsend’s Memorial …
The East Jefferson Rivals boys soccer team’s losing skid moved to three straight after a close 3-2 defeat by the feet of Seattle Christian School Saturday in Port Townsend’s Memorial Stadium.
“I think we could have played a lot better than we did,” EJ Head Coach Robert Cantley said.
“I think it seemed like we were low energy for the first 60 minutes until we got our [first] goal, but it’s not really ideal to play a game at 10 o’clock in the morning.”
Beyond the early start time, the Rivals were somewhat short-handed overall, missing one starter who was recovering from COVID.
The opening whistle rang around the stadium and both teams were off to a quick start. Rivals keeper Haven McMillen got his first touch in the opening minute of the game, scooping up a shot booted by a Seattle Christian striker.
EJ responded with a chance of their own with a run down the right side from midfielder Connor Scanlon, who laced a tempting cross into the Warriors’ penalty box that was collected by the opposing keeper 2 minutes into the opening 40-minute half.
The Warriors found the net early after a counter attack through midfield and a subsequent shot that sliced past McMillen to put Seattle Christian up 1-0 after 5 minutes of play.
Looking to recover from the early deficit, the Rivals formed a few solid chances in front of the net. Sublime passing between Scanlon, Simon Barlow, Lochlan Krupa, Isaac Gurney, and other EJ players led to two or three solid chances in the first half, but the Rivals couldn’t capitalize in front of net.
Mark Anderson of the Rivals booted a great shot on goal with 8 minutes left in the half, but the Warriors’ keeper made the save to keep Seattle Christian up 1-0.
Scanlon poached an errant pass from the Warriors’ backfield to gain a prime chance, but his shot deflected off the opposing keeper as the Rivals remained scoreless in the opening half.
Seattle Christian maintained their 1-0 lead going into the break.
McMillen was called upon once again at the start of second half after the Warriors earned a breakaway chance in front of goal. The goaltending ace made a leaping dive and clutch save to keep EJ in the running with 37 minutes to go in the game.
EJ’s Zen Cook found a pair of chances in front of the net, but one shot slipped off target and the other was saved by Seattle Christian’s keeper with 32 minutes left in the contest.
About 15 minutes into the second half, Cook was fouled right outside the Warriors’ penalty box, giving EJ another chance to score.
Barlow walked up to take the free kick and rifled a powerful shot, but it wasn’t quite enough to slide past Seattle Christian’s keeper, and the score stayed 1-0 with the Warriors in front.
Seattle Christian took advantage of EJ’s aggressive play and started a counter attack down their right sideline with 22 minutes remaining. A Warrior striker booted a powerful, crisp shot right past McMillen’s outstretched gloves to put the score at 2-0.
The Rivals were down, but they didn’t go down without a fight.
EJ’s midfield put the Warriors’ backfield off-balance with excellent passing all around, leading Scanlon down the right sideline for a shot on net.
This time, the Rivals converted the chance after Scanlon cut a shot past the keeper’s left side to bring EJ back into the picture. The Rivals were down 2-1 with 12 minutes remaining.
Then came the dagger. Seattle Christian broke past the Rivals defense and scored its third goal of the day to effectively end any chances of an EJ comeback.
Scanlon scored a second goal in extra time for the Rivals after superb build-up passes from Gurney and Sean Botkin, but it was too little, too late.
Seattle Christian prevailed 3-2.
“I was happy with the created chances, but we weren’t finishing them,” Cantley said after the match. “We didn’t quite have enough overall desire from other players to get up in support and pick up a loose ball. The ball was in the box enough, we had the chances, but it was often that there was just one person there in front of goal.”
The Rivals’ build-up play was superb on the day, but they simply couldn’t finish crucial chances in front of the net.
“Our energy level was pretty low, so it’s hard to get back into the game against a team that is already feeling it,” Cantley said. “I was proud that they did get back into the game and made it exciting to the finish.”
The loss marks a major regression for the Rivals’ postseason chances, as the team’s record in the Nisqually League moved to 3-6-1 after the loss.
“We knew that we couldn’t lose this game because [Seattle Christian was] three points behind us, so we can’t afford to lose points at this juncture. We’ve got some teams that are also in contention that we’re playing. We need to win some games if we want to stay in with a shot. Hopefully we can,” he said. The Rivals were scheduled to play against Cascade Christian School this week.
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