“We knew it was going to be a very, very, very physical and emotional game.” Don Cox
Of all the games for the Pirates to be missing a referee, Thursday’s game with East Grand Forks was maybe the toughest one. “We knew it was going to be a very, very, very physical and emotional game,” head coach Don Cox said.
The Pirates will undoubtedly take the result, however, as they pulled out the 2-1 win over East Side Thursday at the CHS soccer fields that was indeed filled with physical play and saw no love lost between the two teams.
The game got off to a quick start, as EGF took a quick lead, going ahead 1-0 within the first five minutes. “ We came out slow and the boys recognized that,” Cox said. “After the slow start they picked up the pace a bit and got a little more animated.”
It didn’t take long for the Pirates to equalize, however, as Jacob Roesch broke down the sideline, and sent in a ball that Bobby Tiedemann corralled and turned home, bringing the Pirates even at 1-1 in the 10th minute.
After that, the game settled more into the middle third, as the two teams traded blows, but no real chances for the remainder of the half. A Roesch shot from outside the goalie box was the closest thing either team had to a real chance, and the game went into half with the same 1-1 scoreline.
It didn’t take too long in the second half for the Pirates to make their move, though. Tiedemann came streaking down the right flank, and fired a nice cross into the box. Ian Johnson didn’t even let the cross reach the ground, taking his first touch on goal, a beautifully lofted lob right over the goalkeeper’s head, off the bottom off the crossbar, and into the back of the net for the 2-1 lead. “Ian just had the right angle on it,” Cox said. “That’s the finesse area; you just need a little touch in the right spot.”
The goal came in the 47th minute, meaning there was plenty of time left for the Pirates to defend, and the Green Wave to try to tie up the game.
The Pirates continued to attack, however, using their possession of the ball as the best defense. “They know what they had to do,” Cox said. “The best defense is a good offense sometimes, so they keep pushing and pushing and pushing to hold on to that lead.”
There were plenty of chances for the Pirates, as they had back-to-back free kicks in a dangerous spot just outside the 18-yard box just a few minutes later, and just after that a delicious back heel (as our friends across the pond say) from Parker Nicholls sent Cody Wardner into the box where he got a low pass past his defender, and forced the goalie to come out of his goal and stretch to stop the pass from finding its intended Pirate.
It continued to be all Pirates, as Wardner and Jake Anderson both ripped stinging shots that the EGF goalie was unable to catch, leaving rebound opportunities that the Pirates couldn’t quite get to.
Around the 15-minute mark though, the momentum switched a bit, as EGF made their final push to tie up the game. They had a couple corners, and a few half-chances, but Elijah Phaiah in goal, and the Pirate defense were up to the task, as the Pirates held on for the 2-1 win.
The Pirates are now up to 7-1 on the season, and have won four in a row. Up next for CHS is a road game against Walker-Hackensack-Akeley on Saturday, before a rematch with the one team that has beat them this year – Hillcrest Lutheran Academy – on Tuesday.