Wind plays havoc as Bulldogs fall to Chillicothe

Dave Faries

Haden Frazier has played a lot of soccer in and around Mexico. On Saturday afternoon, however, the Bulldogs’ junior faced an unfamiliar opponent.

“I don’t think we’ve ever played with this much wind,” he said.

How windy was it as the team battled visiting Chillicothe and a tempest blasting from goal line to goal line? Early in the first half, Randy Hernandez attempted a throw in from midfield, stepping into the wind along the touch line. The ball fluttered momentarily then plummeted out of bounds.

Still, both teams managed to spar throughout. Mexico conceded a goal in each half and the Hornets benefited from a gust-aided own goal. Meanwhile, conditions forced the Bulldogs away from their counterattacking style of play. Although they were able to create opportunities, they could only put the ball away once – a header late in the game by Frazier that eluded Chillicothe’s Josh Adams.
Mexico fell 3-1.

Frazier tested the keeper on several occasions in the first half, blasting one from 20 yards out, tapping a shot from a tight angle just wide of the net and capping a flurry of activity by sending a header a touch high. Dominic McKeown fired one on target, only to have Hornets defender Dalton Ripley intervene. Late in the first, Carter McIntosh won the ball on Mexico’s defensive end, fed it to Alex Guzman, who found Frazier cutting through the middle. He deferred to McKeown, who held it until Jordan Mitchell worked free inside the area.

Unfortunately for the home side, Adams beat the speedy Mitchell to the ball and thwarted the well-conceived attack.

“I feel like we had a chance in the first half,” McKeown observed.

Down 2-0 thanks to their own goal and with the wind now at their backs, coach Bill Gleeson changed the formation, pushing the wings forward. It was a decision made because of weather conditions and for a time the switch appeared to work. After a quick score, Chillicothe could only manage occasional forays into Bulldog territory. On the offensive end, Mexico found space to move the ball but too often failed to connect.

“Our passing wasn’t as crisp as in the first half,” Gleeson noted. “We were getting opportunities, not good opportunities.”

That changed with 2:29 remaining. Frazier muscled between two defenders as the keeper fended off a long delivery from McKeown. Finding a sliver of room between his markers, Frazier headed the rebounding ball into the net.

But it was the wind that dictated play on both sides.

“I think it threw all of us off,” McIntosh said.


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