Southeast Raleigh bounced back from its first Greater Neuse River Conference loss of the season, getting an early first-half goal from Jose Valente before staving off a last-ditch comeback bid by visiting East Wake for a 1-0 victory on Wednesday.
Andy Chupin set up Valente’s goal off a free kick from about 30 yards out, booming a long ball from near the left sideline toward the net that Valente managed to tap past East Wake goalie Daniel Ibara with 30 minutes, 35 seconds remaining to put the Bulldogs (4-3, 4-1 GNRC) ahead.
Southeast – which lost 1-0 to Knightdale in overtime on Monday – had countless other chances to add to its lead later in the contest. That included an apparent goal by Chupin off a rebound with about 15 minutes left in the first half that was wiped out due to an offsides call.
Those squandered chances nearly proved costly, as East Wake made a good push over the final 15 minutes in trying to get the equalizer. The best of the Warriors’ chances was a header from close range by Steven Juarez-Reyes that Southeast goalie Kurt Nyguen stopped with 12:45 remaining.
“We’re still not playing to our full potential, we’re missing some opportunities,” said Southeast coach Derek Teel. “But in this conference everybody is about the same, so we need to take advantage of those opportunities. We have some work to do.”
While Teel had preferred a sharper effort on his team’s part, the victory did keep Southeast tied atop the GNRC with Garner. Last season, Southeast finished under .500 in league play.
“The program has been down, it’s been struggling, but these young men have taken on the responsibility to bring the program up,” Teel said. “We’re still young, so we’re still learning.”
East Wake fell to 2-8-1, including 0-4-1 in the GNRC. Three of the Warriors’ league losses have come by one goal.
East Wake actually had more possession time in the early going, but momentum shifted once Valente scored to put Southeast ahead and the Warriors couldn’t quite recover.
They said it
“We have tried several formations with each contest to figure out a way to put the ball in the back of the net,” said East Wake coach Michael Howes. “They’re a very good team, and we have some really good competition in this conference this year, we’re just coming up a little bit short in the scoring department.”
Three who mattered
Andy Chupin, Southeast Raleigh: In addition to setting up Valente’s goal, he created several other good scoring chances to keep East Wake’s defense on its heels.
Kurt Nyguen, Southeast Raleigh: The Bulldogs goalie didn’t have to make a lot of saves, but the stops he made were crucial. He made a heads-up play on a potential breakaway midway through the first half when he cleared a loose ball just outside the box before East Wake’s Aaron Zeigler could chase it down.
Daniel Ibara, East Wake: The freshman goalie made eight saves, keeping East Wake within reach throughout.
East Wake will get back top striker Layne Gairrett, who missed the last two games due to a knee injury, for the Warriors’ next game on Monday against Knightdale. “He usually finds a way to make a difference, whether it’s scoring a goal or setting up one,” Howes said.
Southeast has games against Harnett Central and Clayton next week that will likely determine whether the Bulldogs will remain a factor in the GNRC title chase.