|Controversial goal boots Chargers from postseason |
The Westview Charger soccer season came to a sudden close frustrating both fans and players Tuesday afternoon at the MTD Soccer Complex in Martin.
Stretch — Westview goalie Hyuntae Kim leaps to tip away a shot during the Chargers’ tough season-ending 2-1 loss to North Side Tuesday in the Region 7 A-AA semifinals.
Seconds away from an overtime session in the Region 7 A-AA semifinal, the North Side Indians scored a controversial goal to escape with a 2-1 win.
With the score tied at 1-all and time in regulation waning, North Side (13-6) pushed the ball from the midfield toward the Westview goal. An Indian pass was deflected and landed in front of North Side’s Pedro Villegas.
Villegas fired a chest-high shot past Charger keeper Hyuntae Kim bringing howls of protest from the WHS fans and players. Contending that Villegas was beyond the deepest Charger defender, Westview (7-5-5) wanted an offsides call that would have negated the goal.
Instead, 35 seconds later, the referee whistled the end of regulation for a 2-1 Indians’ win.
“I want to give credit to our kids for the guts they showed the last week. This team, during the middle of the season with all our injuries, could have folded the tent and called it quits,” WHS head coach Dan Scates said. “Instead, we battled every game for 80 minutes. This game is a perfect example of that. The thing that hurts so bad is this team had really fought back.”
Indeed, the Chargers did have to fight back into contention. The North Side offense had the better chances and kept the pressure on in the game’s opening 25 minutes, but did not score.
With 11:45 left in the first half, WHS senior John Perugini hurried the ball deep down the left side and crossed a pass to classmate Jeremy Haywood, whose chip shot was stopped by Indian keeper Gabriel Castro.
Just 25 seconds later, Villegas stripped the ball away in the Indians’ offensive end and sent a pass to North Side’s biggest scoring threat — Kwasi Frempong-Boadu. Frempong-Boadu dribbled to the middle of the field and sent a low, hard shot past Kim for a 1-0 Indian lead.
North Side tried to put the Chargers away in the remaining 11 minutes of the half with steady pressure on Kim. At the 7:45 mark, the Charger keeper had to hustle out wide and battle one-on-one with Frempong-Boadu to clear the ball away. Less than a minute later, Kim had to fight for the space to punch away a long, high-bouncing pass. With five minutes to play in the opening half, Frempong-Boadu drove in and lifted a hard shot just over the crossbar.
Thanks to the efforts of Kim and the other WHS defenders, the North Side lead stood at one goal, 1-0, at halftime.
“I felt, as explosive as they are on offense, that if we could hold them to one or two goals, we had a shot,” the Westview coach said. “I challenged our guys at halftime. You’ve got to get a little blood and sweat on you to play this game.”
The Chargers answered Scates’ call and kept the Indians on the defensive. North Side’s play was lackluster for much of the second half. Westview, with hustle and effort, dominated the final 40 minutes.
Ten minutes after halftime, Will Sliger sent a corner kick in front of the net. Harrison Moore got a head on the pass but couldn’t score. The ball rattled loose in front of the goal before North Side cleared it.
At the 27-minute mark, Haywood’s low shot was tipped away and out of bounds by a diving Castro. Off the ensuing corner kick, a Perugini shot was just wide of the goal.
Near the midpoint of the second half, Derek Ahn centered a pass that Buddy Legens headed just over the crossbar.
With 15:35 left to play, Perugini hustled on the baseline to keep WHS in possession near the Indians’ goal. He centered a pass to Ahn, who fired a low shot past Castro for a 1-all tie.
After the WHS goal, the Indians’ effort flagged further, but the Chargers did not get another solid chance either during that time. Much of the action took place in the midfield.
With overtime seemingly a foregone conclusion, the game suddenly took an unexpected turn with Villegas’ goal.
“I felt if we could get into overtime we had a good chance because our guys are in better shape,” Scates said.
Seniors playing their last game in a Westview uniform were Derek Ahn, Zach Fortner, Jeremy Haywood, John Perugini, Buddy Legens and Harrison Moore.