TMP matches up with Garden City again
Published on -10/16/2012, 10:25 AM
By KLINT SPILLER
The Thomas More Prep-Marian boys' soccer team might be filled with inexperience, but head coach Shawn Lawson said he's seen improvement from his squad.
That improvement was evident in its 4-1 loss to Garden City (14-2), a Class 6A school and reigning Western Athletic Conference champions. It was the identical margin the Buffs beat TMP (4-10) by in the Wichita North Cup on Thursday.
It was the third time the two teams faced off against each other. TMP fell to Garden City in the earliest matchup 10-2 on Sept. 11 at Garden City.
"I feel pretty good, because we have played them two times," TMP freshman Fernando Gonzalez said. "The first time, we lost 10-2 and the second one 4-1 at their home. This time, we are at our home, and we gave them a tough game."
Due to school policy violations, TMP has played without two of its best players, senior midfielder Rodney Gracas de Deus and senior forward Robert Niyonsaba, down the stretch.
Since then, the Monarchs have reorganized their team and given more playing time to underclassmen.
"They have been playing a lot better," Lawson said. "They are still rough around the edges and don't understand half the game they should, but they are working hard and it shows on the field."
The Monarchs never threatened to win the match, but they played competitively with Garden City, placing seven shots on goal.
TMP even contained Garden City in the first half to just one goal and went into halftime down by one.
"Some of these guys want to play like Barcelona," Lawson said. "I have a bunch of guys from Mexico. They all want to play attacking style. We are not at that level, but we can play good defense as a team. We are getting there."
The Monarchs were out shot 21-9, and junior goalkeeper Collan Lawson collected 10 saves.
"Our style of play is team defense," Lawson said. "Everyone plays defense, and then get the counter or get set pieces, because we have guys who can score from past midfield (on set pieces)."
The Buffaloes didn't score until the 29th minute of the match when senior defender Diego Benitez shot to the left of Lawson.
Garden City went into the half up 1-0, despite posting 12 shots.
The Buffs opened up the floodgates a bit in the second half.
Right out of the gates, sophomore Erik Barragan drove past the diving goalkeeper and kicked it into an open net in the 41st minute.
Senior Joel Sanchez put Garden City up 3-0 in the 63rd minute when he received a pass from Barragan and shot it to the right of Lawson.
The Monarchs surged late in the match and took advantage of a Garden City mistake. TMP senior defensive midfielder Carlos Duenes dribbled to the corner of the Buffs' side of the field and sent in a cross that bounced off Garden City senior Juan Carlos Rodriguez for an own goal in the 73rd minute.
However, Garden City junior Victor Herrada brought his team's lead back to three in the 77th minute. Herrada kicked a high arcing shot that dropped behind Lawson and into the goal.
Herrada said he thought TMP looked more organized than in the two team's previous meetings.
"I think they have a lot of potential, but they need to work more on their touching," he said. "They know how to move around well by themselves, but they need to pass more as a team to actually finish."
With the absence of Deus and Niyonsaba, Gonzalez said he's seen improvement from his teammates.
"At the beginning, we were like (losing Deus and Niyonsaba) is going to affect us, but we knew we couldn't do anything so we started training harder," Gonzalez said. "If we train harder, then these are the results."