Bold move backfires for Warriors in loss
By Brad Fauber
STEPHENS CITY — Sherando’s boys soccer team had a hard time mounting any kind of pressure in the first half against visiting Broad Run on Thursday evening, so Warriors head coach Patrick Anderson made a bold choice at halftime.
Anderson decided to keep just two defenders along the back line while pushing everyone else forward in an attempt to generate more firepower in the second half. He admitted after the match that he’s probably going to scrap that game plan.
Broad Run pounced on the opportunity against a thinned-out Sherando defense, as the Spartans erupted for five goals in the second half en route to a 6-1 non-district victory.
“I tried some crazy formations, so I’ll take the blame on that,” Anderson said. “We weren’t getting anything done in the first half, so I said ‘let’s switch it up.’ I went with a little crazy formation and it didn’t work.”
Sherando (5-2) was in decent position at halftime despite getting outshot by Broad Run 7-1 in the first half. The Spartans (6-1) had taken a 1-0 lead on a goal by junior midfielder Karim Zebdi off a Samson Sergi assist in the 25th minute, but the Warriors’ defense held up and carried that one-goal deficit into halftime.
But things changed quickly after that, as Broad Run erupted for four goals in the first 19 minutes of the second half.
“I think the play was about the same, it was just about finishing our chances,” Spartans coach Jonathan Hicks said. “We were probably more decisive in the attacking third and we took our chances instead of kind of being passive like we were in the first half.”
Spartans senior midfielder John Reategui did most of that damage, as he scored three goals in a 14-minute span to record his first career hat trick.
Reategui started the outburst with a goal in the second half’s opening minute, as he was in the perfect position in the middle of the penalty box to field the rebound on a shot by Sergi that sprang off the right post.
His second goal came in similar fashion just five minutes later. Spartans senior Travis Fulgham attempted a header to the left post in the middle of the box, but his shot was kicked away by a Sherando defender. Unfortunately for the Warriors, the ball skidded right to Reategui, who planted the ball into the back of the net to give Broad Run a 3-0 lead.
“I was in a good position. I’ve got to give that to my teammates, Sammy and Travis — they basically ran down the line. I think it just found my foot,” Reategui said.
Reategui completed his hat trick in the 54th minute, as he was tripped up by a Sherando defender in the box to set up a penalty kick, which he converted to push the Spartans’ lead to four goals.
Broad Run continued filling the net just five minutes later, as senior forward Gabriel Molina scored a goal off a nice cross into the box by Fulgham to give the Spartans a 5-0 lead.
“They’re a good team. We knew that coming in but we just didn’t want to get shelled the whole time, so that’s why we came out and played a different way,” Anderson said. “It’s a good lesson for us, that’s for sure, to play a good team like that.”
Sherando, which still struggled to generate any kind of offensive push in the second half, nearly got on the board in the 71st minute as the Warriors were awarded a penalty kick, but senior Austin Wernecke’s shot attempt was blocked by Broad Run keeper Andrew Davies.
The Warriors finally broke through for a goal in the 75th minute, as junior Tanner Wernecke fired a shot from the top of the box that glanced off a Broad Run defender, which changed the trajectory of the ball enough to get past Davies.
Molina added his second goal of the night during stoppage time to set the final margin.
Broad Run — which fired 16 shots in the second half — outshot the Warriors 23-4 in the match.
“We’ve just got to get better. We’re not doing the little things right now. We’re doing them sometimes, but we’ve got to do them all the time. That’s really the biggest thing,” Anderson said.
“We’re getting there. We’re still young, and that’s what I try to remind myself because we graduated 13 seniors last year. We definitely make those young mistakes, that’s for sure.”
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @BradFauberNVD