In the consolation game of the JUSA Cup, the Smithfield-Selma boys soccer team used a three-goal barrage spanning less than three minutes to race past South Johnston 4-2.
Despite peppering the Trojans’ goal for the first 20 minutes of action, Smithfield-Selma was routinely denied by South Johnston goalkeeper Luis Garcia.
Then, in the 21st minute, Garcia once again stoned the Spartans’ Rogelio Salazar but Nicolas Morales was waiting for the rebound this time and slotted the ball home for the 1-0 lead.
Just 76 seconds later, Morales once again followed up an initial shot from Salazar, who had yet again beaten the Trojans’ offside trap, to double the lead.
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“We won this game on pure team speed; South Johnston wanted it more and they controlled the ball much better than we did,” said Smithfield-Selma coach Austin Coates. “It was one of those things where you had to test them out the first few minutes and if we can beat them with speed, we’ll beat them with speed but it’s not a fun way to win.”
Despite timing many through balls to perfection and getting past the South Johnston high line defensive pressure, the Spartans (1-1) were also whistled for offside 12 times.
The Spartans also managed 22 shots for the game, 12 of which were on goal.
Salazar finally found the back of the net himself in the 23rd minute after receiving a quick pass from Dennis Morales-Aguilar to give Smithfield-Selma the 3-0 lead.
It was a lead that could have been South Johnston’s as the Trojans (0-2) were turned away by the Spartans’ Chandler Lasater on a pair of momentum-swinging plays early on.
In just the fifth minute, Kyle Raulerson sent a cross into the six-yard box where teammate Bryan Martinez redirected the ball towards the goal only to have Laster made a quick reflex save on the goal line.
Two minutes later, another Raulerson cross looked destined for great things but Misael Garcia’s shot to the near post was stopped in its tracks by a diving Lasater.
“It was frustrating; there were some opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on and a few things didn’t go our way but it’s early in the season with a young team,” said first-year South Johnston coach David Diviak. “We’re going to go through these growing pains.”
Erick Herrera got the Trojans on the board in the final minutes of the opening half after a quick one-two pass from Jose Vargas but the Spartans effectively put the game out of reach early in the second half on Salazar’s second goal of the night.