LAUREL – As the Prince George’s County 4A soccer playoffs began last Friday afternoon, the matchup between third-seeded Laurel and sixth-seeded DuVal was ready to get the soccer action started.
A wonder-goal by Thang Tuang proved to be the deciding factor in the Spartans’ 2-1 opening-round victory on Oct. 27.
Despite the one goal advantage, Laurel Head Coach Eric Ferguson said he was pleased, but is looking for an even better result on Oct. 31 against Parkdale.
“I’m not happy about the result.” Ferguson said. “I thought we should have won by more goals. I don’t think we played to our potential today.
“I feel like there was a little bit of tentativeness with the team. The goal we gave up was done wrong. The guys in the back failed to communicate with each other and that’s how we gave up the goal. Still, I think getting the win and waiting for Tuesday is good before we play Parkdale.”
The first 20 minutes of play resulted in plenty of harsh tackles and failed attacks for both teams. The harsh tackles continued, and during the 14th minute of play Laurel’s Eze Reuben earned himself a yellow card for a nasty slide tackle on attacker Samuel Diaz.
As the first half moved along, the deadlocked score was finally broken when Spartan attacker Kwame Duncan broke between defenders toward the goal. DuVal goalkeeper Malcom Eleweanya failed to get the ball from Duncan, and watched as Duncan went around him for the first goal of the game.
Following the early goal, the Tigers attempted to create more chances, but failed to keep their shots on target. The offensive frustration began to kick in as attacker Percy Zevallos Andrianzen had a poor challenge against a Laurel player and picked up a yellow card.
Following the yellow card, a free kick from about 20 yards out was given to the Spartans. Tuang stepped up to the spot and put home an absolute rocket to make it 2-0 toward the end of the first half.
Even after scoring a wonder-goal from a free kick, Tuang was very composed about it.
“When I stepped up, I really didn’t think too much about it. It just happened to be a crazy goal,” Tuang said.
The Tigers and Spartans mirrored their type of play throughout the second half of play. However, in the late stages of the second half, the young Tigers pressed the Spartans and it eventually paid off. Diaz and his potent passing skills put teammate Williams Yami-Nano in a prime position to score, as he blasted home a goal in the 66th minute.
Despite the late score by Yami-Nano, the Spartans played keep-away for the remainder of the game to punch home their ticket to the second round of the playoffs.
Despite the loss, DuVal Head Coach Peg Georges has high hopes for his young team.
“We have a lot young players. I feel like next year they will do better against the older competition.” Georges said.
Laurel moves on to the second round and will play No. 2 seed Parkdale on Oct. 31.