DURHAM — Cold and blustery weather conditions made it difficult for players on both squads, but the Jordan Falcons boys’ soccer team found a way to advance to the second round of the 4A playoffs with a 3-0 win against visiting Athens Drive Tuesday.
The Falcons (12-3-3), playing without two starters, sent the Jaguars (11-8-3) home without a goal. Athens Drive had just one shot in the first half.
“It’s as good of a game as we’ve played all year. Tonight, they came out with a real focused effort and set the tone early,” Jordan coach Don Jones said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the guys. They played with a focused intensity from the beginning to the end.”
The first goal of the match came from the foot of Jordan senior forward Yosef Teffera.
Sophomore forward Christian Pineda found Teffera on a cross at the 19:28 mark of the first half to put the Falcons up 1-0.
Sophomore midfielder Ruben Gomez added to the Falcon lead at the 7:50 mark, when he ripped an unassisted shot.
The Falcons’ high pressure offense pushed hard all game, even with a lead. Athens Drive was able to ride the storm out, going into the half down only two goals.
“There were a lot of 50-50 balls in the air and we were the first ones to it and that controlled the flow of the game,” Teffera said. “We’ve been working hard all year and it’s finally starting to peak. This will definitely help us with our team chemistry and confidence.”
From the start of the second half, the Falcons didn’t take their foot off the gas.
Kaushik Puranam added to the Falcon’s lead at the 37:56 mark of the second half. Puranam received a pass from a teammate, dribbled into the penalty area and slipped the ball past the Jaguar keeper, extending the Jordan lead to 3-0.
“We played really hard and had the mentality of really getting after it. Coming off of senior night and the big win there – that really carried over,” Jordan captain Michael Lawson said. “I think we’ll use that intensity, coming from this game, to start off the game next time.”
The Jaguars played on their heels for the first 20 minutes of the second half, but did have chances to cut into the Falcon’s lead.
In the 54th minute, the Jaguars had two chances right inside the penalty area but both shots were sent aside by Jordan’s junior goalkeeper Billy Morgenlander.
“We’ve had trouble keeping teams out of the net this year, and that shut out tonight, for us, was big – real big,” Jones said.
The Falcons looked as if they fed off their opponents chances, as their counterattack was electric during the match.
Jordan will visit Sanderson in the next round.