That soccer is a game of inches was made clear to all on Wednesday as cannon blasts by Dominic McKeown and Haden Frazier ricocheted off the crossbar, denying Mexico a tying goal in a 4-3 loss to …
That soccer is a game of inches was made clear to all on Wednesday as cannon blasts by Dominic McKeown and Haden Frazier ricocheted off the crossbar, denying Mexico a tying goal in a 4-3 loss to visiting Battle.
“It felt like that moment was in slow motion,” McKeown said.
Less than 10 minutes remained in the game when the Bulldogs midfielder launched an attempt from just outside the 18 yard box. It beat the keeper, but not the top bar.
The ball careened to the left where Frazier had eluded his marker in the danger zone. He drilled the rebound back toward the net.
Once again the ball zipped out of the keeper’s reach. Again, it clanged hard off the bar.
“That’s just how it plays out sometimes,” observed a philosophical Frazier.
Mexico fell behind early. Although McKeown put them on the board, the Spartans took advantage of missteps to pour in four first half goals.
It was 4-1 with just over 12 minutes to play before the half when Frazier broke free in the box and dove a low rocket into the back of the net.
The Bulldogs created two more chances before the break. But on both occasions they were stymied by Battle’s goalkeeper, Payson Davenport.
Meanwhile Mexico’s defense continued to show signs of gelling. Late in the first half Alex Guzman’s hustling tackle broke up a Spartans counterattack. In the second the ball trickled away from goalkeeper Emille Scanavino, but Scout Jones was there to clear it to safety.
With time running down in the game, Ricardo Ramirez’s brilliant one on one tackle stopped a dangerous threat.
“You have to be careful because you don’t want to foul, but you also have to go after him,” Ramirez explained. “In the second half we were doing what we needed to do.”
What the Bulldogs needed most was a rally. A McKeown blast at 31:28 almost slipped by Davenport. Mexico could not muster another serious threat until 11 minutes remained. This time, however, McKeown located Frazier in the box and the senior striker knocked it through.
It was 4-3. Two minutes later came the back to back deflections off the cross bar. An inch in the right direction on either shot would have secured a draw.
Scanavino was again strong in the goal for Mexico, securing several diving saves behind a still young but more confident back line.
“We’re just getting better and better,” Frazier said.