By Kevin Park
Photos by Jenny Luo
After five games of triumph, the boys’ soccer team tasted its first defeat at the hands of the Vikings of Blair, coming up one goal short in the 2-1 match.
The first half was strewn with missed opportunities. Senior Jordan Jackmon took charge of the offense, but it was clear that the Tigers were struggling to translate opportunities into goals. Junior James Tulin connected a pass to Jackmon but the shot went wide, and senior Tim Wong’s free kick allowed Jackmon to get an incredibly close header that could have provided the Tigers the momentum they needed. However, neither team could place the ball into the net by the end of the first half.
The scoreless game took a turn for the worse in the second half. A Viking striker outran the Tiger defense and chipped the ball over sophomore goalie Kevin Foster, scoring the first goal of the game. After another close shot by Blair, some of the Tigers were disappointed by the dearth of goals.
“Our whole team felt really frustrated, but we knew we had to work hard if we wanted to score,” sophomore Mathew Kramsch said.
A sliver of hope came for the Tigers with ten minutes left in the game. Senior Ramon Gutierrez sent a flawless corner kick into senior Patrick Nelson’s head, which shot past the Blair goalie and into the goal. However, the Blair offense swiftly countered with a shot that caught senior goalie Sam Hoadley-Brill out of position.
The last chance for the Tigers came in the last two minutes of the game. Gutierrez was awarded a penalty kick, the perfect chance for South Pasadena to even the score. However, Blair’s goalie correctly predicted the direction of Gutierrez’s shot to solidify the Viking victory.
The Tigers hope to wash away the loss, which puts them at a 6-1 record, and continue their domination in the Rio Hondo League as they face off against the La Cañada Spartans on Wednesday, February 4.