By Jeremy McDonald
DALLAS, Ore.– It came down to the wire in the boys soccer rivalry match between Dallas and Central Tuesday night at Dallas High School.
The Panthers, en route to their first win of the year 4-2 on this evening, had found themselves struggling to regain focus after taking a quick 2-0 lead by the 16th minute. Jayro Parroquin and Elijah Jones scored the opening goals.
It’s been an issue for the Central squad this season in trying to find that consistency that plagued them for nearly sixty minutes against their rival. Mixed in the Dragons changing up their formation after Jones’ score in the 16th and things got really interesting by the second half.
“We got two goals in the first half, we came out strong and then we kind of lost our focus. We got a little too comfortable, we weren’t playing our game, we were playing their game,” said the Panthers Andy Rincon. “They started marking a little tighter, which forced us to move the ball and play quicker. But it wasn’t a good reason to let those two goals in. At the end, we got together and we got two goals to win it.”
For Dallas, they started the game loading up the back-half of the field. Playing more defensively before spreading out the field and pressuring the ball. Causing the Central squad around them to move the ball quicker as the Panther ball handlers had Dragon defenders right at their hip pocket.
It was something unique with the change. But it worked, leading to opportunities on the offensive side and eventually Ivan Vereschagin and Vidal Paredes-Saavedra each scored in the 52nd and 65th minute respectively. Paredes-Saavedra’s 65th minute goal tied the game at two with an opportunity for the win in the final 15 minutes of the game.
“We tried something a little bit different, it was our first time really doing. It worked pretty well and I’m happy with the results, I think we ran out of steam. Even though we lost, we did good,” said the Dragons Chris Smyth. “I’m very proud of Vital and Ivan for scoring those goals…they’re very talented strikers. Just running around the field, Central likes to pass the ball a lot and we were chasing the ball a little more than we should.
“We just ended up running out of steam the last five minutes and I’m not different.”
The next four games will be tough, pointed Smyth as they’ll travel for each Corvallis, South and West Albany before returning home to face Woodburn March 30 in terms of challenging their conditioning. The figurative wall hit Dallas following a nearly 60-minute stretch where they got back into the match. Fatigue had allowed the Panthers to regain the lead in the 74th minute and again two minutes later, both by Leonardo Hernandez that helped snapped Central’s three-game losing streak.
For the Panthers, to have faced the Spartans, Bulldogs of Woodburn and the Bulldogs of West Albany prior to Tuesday’s contest. The lessons in staying focused will be crucial coming down the stretch with Lebanon, Silverton, South Albany and Crescent Valley to close out the season on March 30.
“It’s crucial for sure,” Rincon said. “We suffered three really bad losses to Corvallis, Woodburn and West Albany. This is a good time to get our motivation back and keep working harder.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald