WOODSTOCK — For most of the first half, Central hung tough with reigning boys soccer Class 2 state champion George Mason. However, the Mustangs broke the game open with a goal at the end of the first half and one at the start of the second half.
The Mustangs pulled away in the second half for a 6-0 Bull Run District victory over the Falcons on Tuesday night.
“We just didn’t play well at all,” Central coach Ted Poor said. “We didn’t hit our passes. We didn’t hold our positioning. We didn’t use the wings — and that’s what happens.”
George Mason controlled the possession throughout the entire game but wasn’t able to score until halfway through the first half. George Mason freshman Seyed Yasin Shams sent a shot past Central sophomore goalkeeper Jacob Fletcher for a 1-0 lead with about 20 minutes left in the opening half.
With about 10 minutes left in the first half, Central had its best scoring opportunity of the night. Central junior Jose Montoya Martinez blasted a shot from about 10 yards out, but George Mason senior goalkeeper Ishan Bhalla made a diving save and knocked the ball away to keep the score at 1-0.
It stayed that way until the final two minutes of the first half. George Mason junior Alexander Kryazhev scored on a crossing pass from sophomore Declan Quill for a 2-0 advantage.
“If we hadn’t given up that second goal in the first half, it would have been different,” Poor said. “Because they would have started pressing a little bit.”
The Mustangs, who have won 10 games in a row, took control of the match in the first minute of the second half on another goal by Yasin Shams for a 3-0 edge.
“In the first half, we were trying to figure out the field a little bit,” George Mason coach Frank Spinello said. “We had some bad touches. It took us a while to get the ball under control. We figured it out, solved it in the second half and played the ball more to space. Getting a goal early in the half or early in the match changes the whole complexion. It gives us a little bit more confidence. It puts the other team on their heels. If we can catch them while they’re hanging their heads for a second and get a quick one that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Poor said his team has a habit of holding the ball too long and against a team like the Mustangs, who like to play at a fast speed, it results in trouble for the Falcons.
“We have a tendency, unfortunately, of holding the ball too long,” Poor said. “You could see it (Tuesday) when they don’t release the ball, this team doesn’t give you time to play. They’re all over you. And that’s the result — is a game like this.”
Poor said that he didn’t see much that he liked from his squad against the Mustangs, but he was happy with a few of his younger players.
“I saw a couple of players have good games, which I liked,” Poor said. “A couple of my young players played I thought real aggressive. I thought Alex Lopez had a good game. He really hustled.”
The Mustangs (12-1-1, 8-0 Bull Run) have won five of the last six and seven of the last 10 Class 2 state championships. Spinello said the team tries to stay focused on this season and not worry about what past teams have accomplished.
“We just start every season from scratch,” he said. “We don’t look at any long term goals. We just try and break down the season into segments and try and focus on one game at a time.”
The Falcons (9-4, 5-2 Bull Run) play host to Bull Run District rival Clarke County today. The game has been moved up from Friday due to the weather forecast for that day. The second-place Falcons beat the third-place Eagles 2-1 on April 23.
“Clarke is a very physical team and you have to be ready for that,” Poor said. “I think we have some good speed on this team and we were able to demonstrate it against them. Hopefully, we’ll do the same this time. ...I’m looking forward to it.”