Royals never give up
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
In the cramped PACWEST soccer season, an eight-day break should always be a blessing. But all too many times, I find that eight days off is a curse. It hurts the team rather than helps it, as rust and complacency sets in. For the Royals, coming out of their eight-day break by playing the Blues, that is exactly what happened at the start of the game.
The team began the game playing fast and aggressively, but as the first half went on, they found themselves less sharp than the Blues. Pressured by their Capilano opponents, the Royals pulled inwards and held on, hoping to take a tie to half time. Their hopes would be dashed after surrendering a corner kick to the Blues near the end of the first quarter. The Blues are a team that is known for their set piece proficiency, and they showed it off by delivering a perfect corner kick into the head of one of their players for the beautiful header that gave the Royals no chance of stopping it.
Surrendering a goal going into half time is never a position that any team wants to be in. It changes the dynamic of how the coach addresses the team, and changes the mood. Sometimes, that change can be for the better, other times, it’s for the worse. This time, it would seem that the talk worked. The Royals came out reinvigorated, and with new life to their moves. They pushed back the Blues, contained them, and punished them for their mistakes. The game equalizer was inevitable, and the Royals found theirs on a similar corner situation. Andrea Perrotta delivered a wonderful curving kick that met the head of first-year midfielder Madison Hendry, who drove the ball into the net for the tying goal.
With time running down, many teams would be satisfied with the tie. But the Royals wanted the win, and they pushed hard for it. They found multiple chances, including a free kick from near unmissable range, but couldn’t convert on any of them, due in part to the Blues’ goalkeeping. The game ran down to the wire, with the Royals controlling most of the chances, and smothering those that they couldn’t contain. In the end, it would be Andrea Perrotta coming up huge once again. After receiving a wonderful pass from her teammate, she managed to get a shot past the defenders, and place the shot exactly where she wanted it. The goal came in injury time, and gave the Blues little to no time to respond. Although they got a decent chance, the Blues failed to convert on a do or die corner, and the Royals would kick the ball out to end the game.
Nail-biter games such as those are never good for the head coach’s heart rate, but make for the most exciting fan games. After the game, Chris Laxton talked about his thoughts on his team’s win:
“At half-time, we challenged the team to be better. We were quite stern with them. We could play much better than we did in the first half, considering they had played the day before. We needed to be better and we showed that. We were clearly the better team in the second half and deserved the goals. It was nice to see the players being rewarded for their hard work.”