On a damp and cold night the first round of the 2018 Men’s Soccer Championship 4A Tournament game was switched to Rocky River High School due to the poor field conditions from heavy rain at Independence to the AstroTurf stadium under the bright lights.
The game started an hour behind schedule, however, once the competition began it was another exciting and thrilling soccer match. The record breaking senior Cvan Than started the scoring and set the tone for the game when he scored midway into the first half with a header into the left side of the back corner of the net for a 1-0 Patriot lead. While sophomore Kyawani Tun would earn the assist.
Glenn would tie the game just three minutes later when the defense had a breakdown inside the box to allow a second rebound shot to sail high over the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Adam Ali just under the crossbar. The first half would end in a 1-1 draw.
In the second half the two teams battled to another draw sending the game into overtime. However, there was plenty of action and senior Chase Davis set-up some nice opportunities with excellent ball handling and consistently attacking matriculating downfield.
Meanwhile, both teams applied pressure and the goalkeepers came up with key saves on each side of the field. Adam Ali in particular for the Patriots came up with a handful of excellent saves to keep Independence in the match. While offensively, Than, Davis, David Martinez and Arguello Pablo kept attacking keeping the Glenn defense on their heels. Defensively, Dino Silva and Nigel Johnson stood out for the Patriots playing their positions solidly without allowing the quick forwards from Glenn to penetrate more consistently.
The senior co-captain Davis had a great opportunity midway through the second half to poke in the potential game winner and the Glenn goalkeeper pounced on the attempt. The same applied to Than who had several opportunities and Martinez who hit the cross bar on a corner kick had the goalkeeper beat, but could not capitalize on the hard smash at the 70th minute. At the 79th minute, Than angled another header toward the net, however, the goalkeeper made a nice save.
In overtime, the two teams remained aggressive, senior Ah Sang had a solid shot on goal that was denied for Independence. Suddenly, just 4 minutes later Chase Davis would push the ball up field on a breakaway and provide a nice feed pass to Cvan Than inside the box who would rocket a shot past the outstretched goalkeeper for the game winner propelling the Patriots into the second round of the State Championships.
After the game, Patriots Head Coach Tyler Gibson said, “I’m very proud of our guys effort tonight. Changing locations last minute due to weather is never easy. The playoffs are all about surging and advancing. We did that tonight in dramatic fashion.”