WOODSTOCK — Central had to overcome some adversity on Tuesday night and despite a loss coach, Ted Poor was pleased with his team’s effort.
The Falcons lost 1-0 to Turner Ashby in non-district boys soccer action and had to play most of the game without two of their top scorers.
Central senior Victor Burgwald suffered an injury just a few minutes into the contest. Central junior Gerson Sorto Lopez battled cramps all night.
“I like the way we played,” Poor said. “...We didn’t get any scrimmages in. So I thought the boys did well. I was very pleased with my defense. We looked rusty on offense. We had chances.”
The game was scoreless most of the way. Central outshot Turner Ashby but had trouble finishing at the net.
Central junior midfielder Jose Montoya Martinez led the Falcons’ offense and had some opportunities where he just came up short.
“We’ve actually practiced a lot,” Montoya Martinez said. “We always do our best, but tonight it looks like it was not our night. We had a lot of opportunities but we just can’t finish.”
In the first half, one of Central’s best opportunities came with about four minutes left. Central senior Trenton Hitt missed on a header off a corner kick from Austin Vernazza.
Montoya Martinez also had a golden opportunity that he just missed scoring on in the opening half.
“I was there alone and (Turner Ashby goalkeeper Jared Smith) just got it with his arm,” Montoya Martinez said. “That was so close.”
The Knights took the lead with about 13 minutes left in the game. Turner Ashby sophomore Maneis Kowa looked like he might get a shot off, but Central’s defense was able to stop him. However, as the ball bounced around it went to Turner Ashby sophomore Alex Escarraman in front of the goal and he put it past Central goalkeeper Jacob Fletcher for a 1-0 lead.
Montoya Martinez had another chance a few minutes later on a free kick, but Smith once again made a save to keep the Falcons off the scoreboard.
While Montoya Martinez may have been frustrated about a couple of his scoring opportunities, Poor said the Knights were equally frustrated by Montoya Martinez’s play.
“Jose is a wonderful player,” Poor said of Montoya Martinez. “He’s gifted, he has great footwork, tremendous speed. He really breaks up a lot of the attacks. And I think he was frustrating them because they were coming down and he’d take the ball away and we were off and running. So I was really pleased with him.”
The Falcons are off until March 19 when they host Fort Defiance. Poor said he hopes to be healthy for that game, but isn’t sure how long Burgwald might be out. Several Falcons went down with cramps during the game and Poor said the team needs to work more on its conditioning so the cramps don’t happen.
One of the biggest areas of concern for Central going into the season was the defense, but Poor said he was happy with how his defense played in the first game of the season.
“We had to rebuild it and we only lost 1-0 to a (Class) 3A team — I think it speaks for itself,” Poor said of Central’s defense. “And I had to make changes in the game with guys. I was real happy. I’m pleased for a first game. I would prefer to win, but we certainly were their match. So it was good.”