Mustangs trample Falcons

WOODSTOCK – What began as a showdown between two unbeaten Bull Run District/Conference 35 boys soccer teams turned into a lopsided rout Tuesday evening.

Visiting George Mason blitzed Central for four goals in a seven-minute span midway through the first half, burying the Falcons in an early deficit they would never come close to erasing in an 8-0 loss.

The win marked the fifth straight victory to start the season for the three-time defending state champion Mustangs – who haven’t lost a match since 2014 – and their fourth consecutive shutout after allowing a goal to Group 6A Mount Vernon in their season opener.

“They’re loaded. It’s like an all-star team,” Falcons coach Ted Poor said. “We just had a bad seven minutes in that first half because I thought we started out outstandingly. The first 10 minutes we were in their end of the field.”

Central (5-1, 3-1 Bull Run) had its chances early. The Falcons had a corner kick cleared in the opening two minutes by George Mason’s stingy defense, and a breakaway opportunity for Korey Wolford was halted when Mason goalkeeper Walker Hegadorn (four saves) charged and covered up the ball at the top of the penalty box five minutes later.

Then the goals began pouring in for the Mustangs (5-0, 4-0). Senior striker Donal Reyes de Leon got the scoring started in the 12th minute with a goal off an assist from Oldrich Sembera Baracco, whose cross pass through the box found Reyes de Leon right in front of the net.

Mason senior Elliot Mercado – who had a hat trick and was one of three Mustangs with at least two goals in the win – followed quickly with two more goals, the second on a penalty kick, over the next two minutes for a three-goal lead.

“We just try to play vexatious pressure all over the field and when we do that it causes problems for the other team,” Mustangs coach Frank Spinello said. “That’s what we go into every match trying to do.”

Baracco scored on a second penalty kick in the 19th minute after his dribble through the penalty box drew a foul from the Falcons’ defense, firmly planting Central into an insurmountable 4-0 deficit against a team that allowed just three total goals last season.

“I think that it absolutely did deflate the guys a little bit,” Poor said of Mason’s quick scoring outburst. “But they recovered. I was pleased with that. We played a good final 20 minutes, I thought, in the first half. If they don’t come out and get that goal right away (in the second half) I thought we could get back into it, maybe steal a goal.”

The Mustangs failed to score for the rest of the first half but needed less than two minutes to add to its lead in the second, as Reyes de Leon poked in a goal after Mercado’s shot was initially saved by Central keeper Dean Woodwell.

Woodwell, who was only sporadically tested in the Falcons’ first five matches and played Tuesday’s match “banged up” according to Poor, made six saves in the loss, two of which were immediately followed by a Mustangs player for a goal.

“Their keeper’s very strong but with a field like this, as ragged up as it is in the penalty areas, we knew there was gonna be some unfortunate bounces that might get away from the keeper,” Spinello said.

George Mason ended the match early via the mercy rule with a trio of goals in a six-minute span late in the second half. Wesley Quill headed in a corner kick from Baracco, who then scored his second goal after Grant Goodwin’s shot attempt hit a Central defender in the box. Mercado ended the match with his third goal with 5:41 left.

The Mustangs held a 27-8 shot advantage over the Falcons, who were playing without a key scorer in Ivan Alvarado after he suffered a concussion last week.

Central returns to action Thursday with a road game at Warren County (3-2), who was a 4-2 winner over Madison County Tuesday night.

“I just hope the boys don’t get too down on it,” Poor said of the loss.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com