There may be different ways to control the flow of a soccer game, but none can be as debilitating to an opponent as a dominant midfield.
In a 5-0 win over South Johnston Wednesday night, the Pirates (9-3-2 overall, 3-0 Two Rivers 3A) owned the middle of the field thanks to the play of attacking midfielder Dillon Parker and holding mids, Jacob Meierer and Tyler Mills.
Parker had a goal and two assists, Alexis Avila added a pair of goals, and the ever unselfish Meierer scored from the penalty spot to lead the way for Corinth Holders.
“I felt we possessed the ball very well; that’s our goal,” Corinth Holders coach Brent Walston said. “We try to keep a defensive mindset and I felt Jacob Meierer and Tyler Mills did a good job at holding and generating and creating.”
Corinth Holders generated opportunity after opportunity while the Trojans (5-8, 2-2) mustered just one promising attempt on goal after Bryan Martinez laid off a ball for Zachary McLamb at the top of the box in the first half only to see McLamb’s attempt to the near post parried away by a diving Ryan Mills.
Six minutes after setting up Daniel Petersen on the game’s opening goal, the Pirates’ Dillon Parker slid a ball between two South Johnston defenders which Alexis Avila ran onto and deposited into the net underneath a sprawling Luis Garcia just 10 minutes before half.
“I think when we went down 2-0, they dropped their heads a little bit,” South Johnston coach Dave Diviak said.
THEY SAID IT
“We’ve pretty much grown up together playing for club (teams), so we have chemistry naturally,” Jacob Meierer said of his partnership in the midfield with Tyler Mills and Parker.
THREE TO KNOW
Alexis Avila, Corinth Holders: The junior came off the bench and supplied an additional source of offense for the Pirates, scoring two goals, his second coming off a ball over the top from Caleb Hawley in the second half.
Omar Montoya, South Johnston: Montoya was the Trojans’ most dangerous attacking player causing problems for the Pirates defense with his long services into the box and attempts at goal from distance.
Dillon Parker, Corinth Holders: Parker’s in-swinging cross set up Daniel Petersen on the game’s first goal, his well-timed through ball to Avila later doubled the score and then his goal off of an Adam Landeros feed put the game out of reach early in the second half.
South Johnston’s athletic, senior goalkeeper Luis Garcia came up with eight saves, six coming from point blank range from 12 yards and in to keep the Trojans in the game as long as possible.
Garcia’s seven saves in the first half kept the deficit slimmer than perhaps what it could have been.
“Their keeper played well in the first half; he did a good job to keep some of the opportunities we had from going in earlier,” Walston said of Garcia’s performance in the opening half. “He just kept us from finishing.”
BY THE NUMBERS
12: Corinth Holders shots on goal, 11 coming from inside the 18-yard box.
4: South Johnston shots on goal, none coming from inside the box.
9: Assists on the year for the Pirates’ Dillon Parker.
0: South Johnston wins against Corinth Holders in the series history with the teams now having met eight times.
The Pirates will go on the road for a pair of huge conference games next week, first against Cleveland, also unbeaten in conference and the defending conference champions, and then, Smithfield-Selma. A pair of wins would give Corinth Holders a big leg up on the rest of the conference at the midway point of the Two Rivers season.
South Johnston will look to bounce back from the tough loss at the feet of the Pirates with key home games against Smithfield-Selma and Western Harnett. Wins over the Spartans, who are tied with the Trojans in the conference standings, and the Eagles would go a long way in helping South Johnston secure a playoff bid.
“We have potential absolutely and we’re still fighting for that playoff spot,” Diviak said. “Moving forward into next week, next week is a big week for us. If we come out and play our game next week, we can further cement and possibilities of a postseason.”