ROCKVILLE – The Thomas S. Wootton Patriots triumphed at home over the Paint Branch Panthers in boys varsity soccer Monday evening, 3-1.
With all the goals coming in the second half, the Panthers took an early lead after the break. The Patriots then responded with three goals to secure the victory.
“We played soft without energy and commitment, and they had to get woken up by that goal in the second half,” said Wootton Coach Doug Schuessler. “Once they got slapped in the face, they started to play much more inspired.”
“Everything was clicking, we had some moments where we were falling but with the quick rotation of legs, we performed for each other,” said Patriots’ senior midfielder Graham Bright who played his first match of the season after returning from a back injury. “It’s good to be back and playing with my brothers,” he added.
In the first half, the home team began pressing forward creating several opportunities to take the lead.
Senior forward Ryan Ullman had two opportunities in the span of three minutes but his efforts went wide of the goal.
The Patriots came closest to opening the score when a free kick delivered by senior midfielder Nikhi Youssef was headed over the bar by freshman midfielder David Wang.
With eleven minutes remaining in the first half, the Panthers began to find their way into the match.
Paint Branch senior forward Abdoul Kader Samalare dribbled down an unguarded flank and shot across the face of the Wootton goal but his teammates failed to connect.
The Panthers’ momentum continued into the second half and their efforts paid off when Kemonie Jordan found the net after outmuscling his marker.
With the visiting team in the lead, the Patriots quickly found their formation and organization to search for an equalizer.
Their efforts were soon rewarded when senior midfielder Samuel Yi laid a perfectly-timed pass for senior striker Karl Scherf to score with a low volley.
The Patriots continued to apply pressure and took the lead when freshman midfielder Alek Wroblewwski assisted freshman forward David Wang who scored after a deep run from the midfield.
Finding themselves behind, the Panthers switched their formation to exploit the Patriots’ unguarded flanks, but were unable to find the net.
“We realized the midfield was crowded, so we spread the ball wide to come down the middle and attacked on the wings,” said Paint Branch coach Shawn Shannon. “They played well, I still accept the fact that they lost but once I get my starting eleven back, I think we will be competitive as usual.”
Six minutes from the final whistle, a disorganized Paint Branch back line put the ball into their own net after Patriots’ freshman forward Jonathan Camberos shot across the goal face.
“We started off strong and but when they [Wootton] pressed with three men on top, we started going to sleep and that’s when they scored on us,” said senior Paint Branch Captain Noel Diaz.
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