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EAGLES BEAT FRIARS IN COMEBACK FASHION

There was a huge turnout at the Guam Football Association soccer field in Harmon to watch the battle between the Harvest Christian Academy Eagles and the FD Friars where the Eagles used a second half comeback to grab the win.

By Jose Terlaje

UOG-GSPN-Banner-300x300-2014There was a huge turnout at the Guam Football Association soccer field in Harmon to watch the battle between the Harvest Christian Academy Eagles and the Father Duenas Friars. The Eagles made a comeback in the second half to defeat the Friars 2-1, and remain undefeated after being down 1-0 early in the game.

“FD is the toughest team we’ve played so far this season. They dominated the game with their good ball control and passing. It was the first time we were scored on first and they kept the ball on our side of the field for most of the match. At practice we work on maintaining composure and to never stop playing our game, even if it doesn’t work early in our matches, we keep trying until it does”, said HCA Head Coach Kun Ho Rhee when asked about his game plan after being down 1-0 going into the second half against the Friars.

Rhee went on to his team’s success in the match to their solid defense and the talents of team leaders, Marlon Evans, Ricky Katsumata and Isiah Lagutang.

At the start of the match, the Friars already began to assert their dominance with their aggressive play, picking up many Eagle pass attempts in the backfield and turning them into shots on goal. FD’s style of play proved to be effective in the 11th minute of the first half when the Friars’ midfielder Joseph Quan found striker Jestin Escobar wide open deep in the Eagles’ goalie box. Escobar struck the ball perfectly with a strong header, finding the back of the net to put the Friars up 1-0.

The Harvest goal-tender can't keep up with a kick from Jestin Escobar resulting in the first score of the game for the Friars.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

The Harvest goal-tender can’t keep up with a kick from Jestin Escobar resulting in the first score of the game for the Friars. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Moments later, HCA’s Marlon Evans had a chance to tie up the game but could not finish a scissor kick after a cross by Ricky Katsumata. This would be one of HCA’s few shots on goal throughout the half. For the remainder of the first half, the Friars dominated possession of the ball, picking the pocket of almost every HCA ball carrier then weaving through the defense with FD midfielder Justin Johnson giving his teammates pinpoint passes.

The Friars continued their very physical and aggressive play, backing down the Harvest defense and giving themselves numerous scoring opportunities. Although the Friars were able to create many scoring opportunities in the half, they were unable to convert these chances into points on the board. Harvest never got into any rhythm for the rest of the half, giving the Friars some momentum going into the second half.

Coming into the second half, the Friars continued where they left off in the first half, dominating the possessions. FD’s Johnson continued to run the midfield along with Charles Paulino while defenders Jason Onedera, Keita Yoshida and Shane Healy kept the Eagles from getting inside the Friar Goalie box. The Friars kept up their physical play and a number of fouls were starting to be called in favor of the Eagles.

Harvest’s Katsumata tried to keep his team in the game by using his ball control to make his way through the Friar defense but was stopped time and time again. HCA’s defense also stepped up its game, denying the Friars any scoring opportunities early in the half. The Friars kept making attempts to break Harvest’s defensive line with left wing Phillip Au bringing the ball down the field but he would be stopped every time.

Samuel Larkin of Harvest gets in the way of the ball to get it out of Eagle territory.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Samuel Larkin of Harvest gets in the way of the ball to get it out of Eagle territory. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

With the game looking like it was completely in the Friars’ control, the Eagles’ Evans and Lagutang took it upon themselves get the offense going. After a quick throw-in by HCA, Lagutang sent a cross through the air and found Evans open just inside the Friars’ goalie box. Evans found the back of the net with a header, scoring the equalizer that gave his team new life.

With the score knotted up and each team desperate to get in the lead, the physicality between the teams started to build up as well as the tension on the field.  The Eagles started to break through FD’s defense, getting closer and closer to scoring. The Friars then started to commit very obvious fouls, causing the FD’s Healy to be given a red card in the 72nd minute, leaving FD down one player.

The Eagles took advantage of the mismatched numbers on the field, using the extra space on the field to move the ball around more. They traded a number of possessions with the Friars until the 80th minute when they were awarded a corner kick. HCA quickly took the corner and an unmarked Lagutang drove the ball in with a header to the left corner of the goal, giving the Eagles a 2-1 lead. Time expired just moments later, giving Harvest the win over Father Duenas in this thrilling regular season match.

Although the Friars did not come up with the win, they were the only team this season to score on the Eagles first. This was the first time that the Eagles’ passing game didn’t seem to work.

“All we did was high press them. We applied pressure to them to make sure they didn’t have time on the ball. We knew who their key players were and how they play and didn’t allow them to get into a flow,” said FD Co-Head Coach Jonah Romero when asked about how his team was able to shut down Harvest’s offense, which has so worked well against all of their opponents so far this season.

Other Score

Guam High School 3, Notre Dame 0 –  (Goals – Leon Bamba (2), Errett Bainum)

PHOTO GALLERY:

Justin Johnson of the Friars has a footwork standoff with an Eagle .  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Justin Johnson of the Friars has a footwork standoff with an Eagle . (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Jason Onedera of the Friars rushes for an attempted block of Brandon McAuslen's kick.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Jason Onedera of the Friars rushes for an attempted block of Brandon McAuslen’s kick. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Eagles goal-tender stands fast while his defender, Ben Wiegand tries to keep the ball away from the attacking Friars.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Eagles goal-tender stands fast while his defender, Ben Wiegand tries to keep the ball away from the attacking Friars. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Eagles and a Friar collide while attempting a header.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Eagles and a Friar collide while attempting a header. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

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