By Julian Prime
Photos by Jenny Luo
A two-game winless streak for the boys’ soccer team was ended Friday, February 6, with a 2-0 victory over Temple City, completing their season sweep of the Rams. The game was physical and heated, but the Tigers came out on top thanks to a few great offensive runs and a stout defense. The team’s record improves to 6-1-1 with the win.
The Tigers came out strong offensively in the beginning of the game, and were looking to pick up right where they left off the last time the two teams faced off, which ended in a 6-0 South Pas win. An early corner kick set up a chance for the Tigers to take the lead. Senior Ramon Gutierrez lobbed the ball into the center of the field where it was handled and put in the back of the net by junior James Tulin. Only six minutes into the game, the Tigers held a 1-0 lead. South Pas would continue to maintain control, keeping the ball on Temple City’s side of the field, but they couldn’t create any more chances in the box. The Tigers committed multiple turnovers, but lackluster possession by Temple City kept the Rams out of the South Pas box.
Chances were beginning to accumulate for South Pas, and there were many promising chances. The Temple City defense, however, did a good job of slowing the Tiger offense down right before the box and preventing them from taking any open shots. Often times, a shot on goal would be blocked by the Rams’ goalie, and then the followup would end up missing wide. Junior Ian Geiberger, who recently began playing a bigger role in the offense, set senior Jordan Jackmon up in the box. Physical defense from the Rams knocked Jackmon to the ground, who came up calling for a penalty. Despite this, there was no call. Geiberger immediately came rushing back to the ball to take a shot, but there was no goal to be found. Junior James Anderson‘s physical play on the defensive side of the ball resulted in a bloody nose, and was replaced by fellow junior Chris Brady. Seniors Sam Anuakpado and Justin Fernandez also subbed in administer the Tigers’ offense some more speed. The half came to a hasty close with the Tigers up 1-0.
The second half started similar to the first, with South Pas on the attack. Chances were initially few and far between, but the Tigers were getting close. Fernandez had an opportunity to add on to the lead, but missed wide right. With time running out and little promise for the Rams, tempers began to flare and the physicality of the game rose.
Senior Tim Wong was given a yellow card for taking out a Temple City player, much to the disagreement of coach Juan Zurita. As this was being sorted out, words were exchanged between Temple City coaches and South Pas players on the field. The Rams’ coaches were visibly angry with the events on the field, and both they and a few South Pas players began mouthing off to each other. Jackmon was given a yellow for arguing with a Temple City player, and was take out of the game by Coach Zurita. South Pas players and parents began laughing at what they considered to be comically poor refereeing, which only heightened the intensity of the game.
Anuakpado, whose breakaway track speed makes him a dangerous offensive component, had a breakaway off of a through ball, but it was saved by the Temple City goalie. The Rams then had a weak counter attack that was stopped handily by the Tiger defense. Possession went back and forth, and neither team found a break in the others’ defense. Fouls began to build up for both teams, resulting in a Temple City yellow. From this, the Tigers were given a free kick from the 50 yard line, almost identical to the kick that tied the game up in their 1-1 tie vs. La Cañada on Wednesday. Senior Oscar Jaime III was the kicker, and he lofted the ball into the box. Anderson had a chance, and headed the ball in the goal’s direction, but it was saved by the Temple City keeper.
Soon after, senior defender Kevin Yonami stole the ball from a Temple City player, and threaded a pass through to Gutierrez. Gutierrez then knifed through the Rams’ defense, and took a shot on goal. The shot was blocked by the goalie, but Gutierrez did a great job of following through for the second chance. His second shot bounced off the left post and went in, putting the Tigers up 2-0. The Rams responded with their best offensive onslaught of the game, but still couldn’t find the Tigers’ goal. The Rams were playing hard but were consistently manhandled by the South Pas defense, who went on the ice the game at 2-0.
The Tigers’ record now stands at 6-1-1. They will look to win their second game of the season against Monrovia, and improve to seven wins on the season. The first time the two teams met this season, Tulin lifted the Tigers to a 3-2 victory with a last minute game winner.