Unable to capitalize
La PORTE — When Plymouth lost a player due to a red card 14 minutes into the first half, La Porte’s boys soccer team had a golden opportunity. Unfortunately for the Slicers, they couldn’t take advantage.
Instead, the Pilgrims managed the lone goal of the match exactly 15 minutes after the red card. The lone goal of the match handed La Porte a 1-0 loss Monday night at Kesling Park.
“It’s certainly frustrating not to be able to be dangerous on the attack,” Slicers coach Pat McCoy said. “They’re a good team, so I’ll give them credit for playing hard and playing well, especially going down a man. We should have been able to capitalize on that, and we weren’t able to.”
At the 26:17 mark of the first half, the Pilgrims’ Evan Ziegler was issued a red card after he kicked La Porte goalie Diego Magana in the stomach attempting to play the ball. Ziegler was forced to miss the rest of the contest, while Magana left the game and didn’t return. In his stead, sophomore Angel Garay played in net for the Slicers (1-3).
Plymouth (2-0) dictated play in the opening half, controlling possession and jump ahead 1-0 with 11:17 left before halftime. Abdon Ortiz found the back of the net from right outside the 18-yard box in the upper-left corner of the goal.
Meanwhile, the Slicers’ offense, struggled to control the ball and scuffled to create offensive chances in the opening half.
“We need to do better on building up the attack, and then, the finishing touches on the attack,” McCoy said. “Especially against a team that’s down a man.”
Nearly 14 minutes into the second half, La Porte’s Tommy Hertges fired a close-range shot after a through ball, but Plymouth goalie Nate Husell made a huge save to preserve the Pilgrims’ one-goal advantage.
“Tommy Hertges made a nice run through the middle and beat everybody but the keeper,” McCoy said. “And the keeper came up with the big save. We had a couple chances. But we didn’t really execute the offensive strategy we had been working on.”
The Slicers mustered an offensive surge in the last 15-20 minutes of the match, creating some quality scoring chances. They couldn’t net the equalizer, though.
“I’d like to see us play with that same intensity for the whole game,” McCoy said. “We have subs. We have bench strength. We should be able to play with that kind of intensity for at least 30 or 35 out of 40 minutes in a half.”
Magana finished with two saves in goal while Garay stopped four shots.
“Both of our keepers did well,” McCoy said. “They were tested. Diego (Magana) got kicked pretty hard in the early part of the game. He could have came back and played, but we have another very good keeper, Angel (Garay), and he did very well. I’m not really sure on the goal if he could have done much on that, but he played pretty well after that.”
McCoy went on to credit his squad’s defense, which limited Plymouth to just one goal after it finished with seven shots on goal.
“Our defense actually played pretty good, all the guys in the back line there, (Kaleb) Cooper, (Thomas) Krause, Kobe Hayward, and Imanol Chavez. Those guys were in the game most of the time, if not the whole time.”
The Slicers dropped their third straight game, but they’ve been competitive in every contest.
After beating Hammond Clark 2-0 to begin the season, they fell 2-0 to Valparaiso and 3-0 to Northridge in a game that was a scoreless tie at half with McCoy saying the Raiders are probably one of the better teams in northern Indiana.
La Porte’s junior varsity dropped a 1-0 match to Plymouth. The Slicers next travel to Merrillville on Wednesday night.