Easton 6 — Cambridge-SD 2
CAMBRIDGE — After mustering one goal over its last four games, Easton High’s boys’ soccer team enjoyed a virtual goal-scoring bonanza Tuesday night at Viking Stadium.
Arms folded across his chest as he watched his players pack their gear, Warrior head coach Matt Blue was asked, where has all this scoring been?
After 10 seconds of silent thought, Blue smiled and answered, “‘That’s a good question.”
Joesito Myers scored twice in first 15 minutes before Devin Vasquez reeled off a hat trick, as Easton snapped a five-game winless streak with an emphatic 6-2 victory over Cambridge-South Dorchester.
“He’s a workhorse,” Blue said of Vasquez, who scored a pair of goals in the final 4:31 of the first half, then connected for his third goal in the fifth minute after intermission. “He’s been playing really hard. He was in the right place at the right time.”
After four games of struggling to put the ball in the right place at any time, Easton (3-4-2 overall, 2-2-2 North Bayside) appeared to gain a healthy dose of confidence when Myers scored twice in a 1-minute, 19-second span for a 2-0 lead with 25:13 remaining in the first half.
“We’ve had opportunities throughout the season this year,” Blue said of his team’s scoring struggles. “We were actually able to find the back of the net today. And we were able to do it early. And when you’re able to score early it allows you to relax and keep playing, not become impatient and frustrated with those you’re playing with. It was a bit of a relief being able to score early; kind of got the monkey off our back, I guess.”
The Warriors went right to the attack, especially Myers, who fired a shot that Viking keeper Ian Young stopped in the third minute, then banged one off the right post in the seventh minute. Young again denied Myers, then watched Gardner Edgell’s pretty cross from left wing skip right through the box in front of him without touching a Warrior foot. Kevin Mejia’s bid for the opening goal was stopped by Young, who recorded six of his 11 saves in the first half.
But with 26:32 left in the first half, Edgell directed another cross from left wing that Myers pounded into the right side of the net for a 1-0 lead. Less than 80 seconds later, Edgell unloaded a blast off the right post that caromed almost right to Myers, who tucked it into the back of the net for a two-goal cushion.
Cambridge-SD (4-6, 2-5) twice had chances to cut into that lead over the next 15 minutes. Justin Knox collected a loose ball that got away from Easton keeper Ashton Echternacth, but shot into the outside of the net with 22 minutes remaining. Sam Banks then struck a header that sailed just over the crossbar with 13:50 left.
“If we cash in on our opportunities we had in the first half early then the game could have went in a different direction; changed momentum and would have put them on their heels,” Viking head coach Gregg Warfield said. “Didn’t work out that way and that’s soccer.”
“There’s always the what-ifs,” Warfield added. “Couldn’t get a break. We just didn’t follow through on them; didn’t put the ball in the back of the net.”
But Vasquez did.
Young made a save off another Edgell rocket, but couldn’t retrieve the rebound before Vasquez moved in and deposited the ball into the right side of the net. With the final seconds ticking away in the half, Myers struck a well-placed corner kick to the far post that Vasquez put away for a 4-0 halftime lead. Vasquez completed his hat trick five minutes into the second half with a shot that seemed to spin away from Young for a 5-0 bulge.
“We were able to maintain possession of the ball,” Blue said. “When we start to get into our attacking third, I’ve been stressing to try to work out to in. What we’ve been doing is facing teams that, when we’re able to possess the ball, they become really stacked in front of the goalmouth. And what we’ve been trying to do in the past is go straight through that. That’s where we’ve had troubles in the past trying to score.
“So just trying to expose them, and make the defense play the entire width of the field instead of, I don’t know, 40 yards,” Blue continued. “Being able to do that, we were able to hit the corner, drive the ball across the goalmouth and create some opportunities to score.”
Cambridge-SD broke through with 18:57 left, when Jharrell Hernandez floated a corner kick over Warrior second-half keeper Von Burgstahler and just inside the far post. A little over 10 minutes later, Lewis James restored Easton’s five-goal advantage, when, just after Blue yelled “shoot”, he hit a ball from about 30 yards out that eluded the leaping Young for a 6-1 lead.
Cambridge-SD’s Jacob McClarren added the final tally with a shot that went off the hands of the diving Burgstahler with about three seconds remaining.
“Hopefully it’s something we can build off of,” Blue said of the win.