Carson boys soccer makes statement vs. Reno
Appeal Sports Writer
One night after some malfunctioning sprinklers washed out its 2-0 lead over Damonte Ranch, the Carson boys soccer team buried the Reno Huskies with a deluge of shots and took a 5-0 win Thursday in a Sierra League matchup.
The Senators, who outshot Reno 24-9, were strong on both sides of the ball and improved to 3-0-1 in league and 12-1-2 overall, while dropping the Huskies to 1-3-1 in league.
Junior Blake Moreland took a pass from sophomore defender Brian Duran outside the 18-yard penalty box, touched his way past a fallen defender and beat Reno goalkeeper Stefan Kornbluth in the 10th minute to give the Senators the only goal they would need.
The teams engaged in a tight defensive struggle throughout the first half before junior midfielder Adam Updegrove and senior midfielder Drew Good added a pair of goals within a 4-minute period in the second half to dampen Reno’s spirits and allow Carson to coast from there.
“We weren’t able to convert our opportunities; they converted theirs,” second-year Reno coach Santiago Esparza said. “Once the third goal went in, I don’t know…Carson played great. They played a solid 80 minutes and are coached well. We’ll pull it together. We need to play a full 80 minutes.”
Updegrove pulled off the first of two Carson highlight-reel goals when he took a cross from sophomore defender Jorge Guevera, got a touch on the ball before slipping to the ground, got up and let loose with a right-footer inside the penalty box and hit the right side of the net in the 49th minute.
In the 53rd minute senior Chris Brown finessed his way past two Reno defenders and put it up in the air to a charging Drew Good, who got a head on it to score his fourth goal of the season and give the Senators an insurmountable lead at 3-0.
“Chris made a good move down the line,” the 17-year-old Good said. “They weren’t marking us at all after it was 2-nil. (Brown) put the ball a little in front of me and I leaped into it and got a little header.”
Although Carson held the edge in shots and managed to keep the ball in the Huskies’ half of the field the majority of the time, Reno was able to hang tough early.
The key to Carson’s breakout came as a result of its defense – Carson junior keeper Brandon Briggs had to make only two saves – and midfielders getting on the same page and setting up its offense to build its formidable attack.
Kornbluth had nine saves for Reno.
Junior John Nuthall, the backbone of Carson’s midfield spine, said the difference was in how Carson contested the Reno attack and how hard it made it work.
“When they attacked, we compacted,” Nuthall said. “When they took a shot, our guys took a step up and made them force a shot. After we scored a couple goals in the second half, they started giving up. We got really comfortable and relaxed and played our game.
“We’re getting better. We had an injury the other day (senior defender Drew Heller tore an abdominal tendon), but if we keep communicating and helping out, we should be unstoppable.”
Carson coach Jason Koop said his players adjusted well to the Huskies’ stacked center.
“They play five in the middle with three center midfielders, which overloads our guys in the middle,” Koop said. “The communication between our back line and center midfielders was important. (The Huskies) had a lot of open players at times and the adjustment we made was communicating from our midfielders to our defenders and to account for the players who were there.”
Defender Carlos Contreras took a pass from fellow sophomore Uriel Duran and booted in a shot from about 20 yards out for the 4-0 lead in the 65th minute and sophomore Moises Romo took a throw-in from senior Martin Azzam upfield and beat Kornbluth to round out the scoring in the 75th minute.
“We had five different guys score and had five different guys with assists,” Koop said. “I like what we have. We have unselfish players, which we demonstrated tonight. It shows the depth we have. I like the way we came out in the second half and took it to them. We didn’t lay back when we were up 1-0.
“And Reno doesn’t have a bad team – they tied South Tahoe. If you tie South Tahoe, you can play.”
Good said Carson had a total team effort.
“Blake Moreland is playing really well and senior Adam Updegrove is stepping up,” Good said. “Our defense stopped them. We had defenders Jorge Guevera, Brian Duran and Matthew Tillitt – it’s nice to know you have a solid back and you can build the offense off them.
“You need to start with a good core and bring it all the way through. I think by us winning 5-nil sends a message to people that we’re still here after losing 10 (seniors) last year.”
Carson will now take its show on the road and meet North Valleys Saturday at 1 p.m. Koop said Carson and Damonte Ranch will meet at Carson High School Monday at 5 p.m. in a make-up match.
“It’s unfortunate the match was stopped,” Koop said. “The guys were playing really well and it was already 2-0. But it happens. They (the NIAA) said we have to play, so we will play.”