This bedtime story for Aberdeen’s boys soccer squad this season will give AHS head coach Larry Fleming and his players nightmares in the offseason — all the possession, pressure and shots, but none of the goals.
The host Bobcats dominated play and forced visiting Chehalis into a defensive, counter-attacking posture in this District IV 2A loser-out match at Stewart Field on Tuesday night.
Aberdeen snapped its four-match scoreless drought, piled on the shots and possessions in front of the Bearcats’ goal and looked comfortable doing it. However, it never scored a goal in the run of play and watched as Chehalis got a counter-attack goal with just over two minutes left in regulation for a 2-1 upset victory.
Aberdeen’s season comes to an end at 10-6. Chehalis (6-11) will take on Capital in another district loser-out match on Thursday.
“It just wasn’t in the cards,” Fleming said. “The penalty kicks, we can’t do anything about, but we could have had 10 goals tonight. To dominate that much, with four breakaways and five other times with shots in front of the goal, and not score … We just didn’t have our touch this year. I’m proud of our guys. No one quit.”
Tied at 1-1 with 20 minutes left in regulation, Aberdeen pinned Chehalis back into its defensive zone for 19 1/2 minutes, not including nearly five minutes of extra time before the final whistle.
Senior Seth Caba delivered a low cross from the left side that traversed the mouth of the Chehalis goal, but no one got onto the end of it. Freshman Robby Lewis delivered two dangerous corner kicks that resulted in blocked shots. Sophomore Isaiah Contreras beat two defenders, but his power shot went right into the chest of Chehalis goalkeeper Skylar Lucas.
The Bearcats made countless clearance kicks back into the Bobcat defensive area, but did have the rare counter-attack run. One of those resulted in the match-winning goal in the 78th minute.
Defender Jesse Gonzalez made a run down the left side and sent a cross that just got past AHS goalkeeper Jake Myers. Behind Myers, Enrique Bautista stood alone as he poked the ball into the net to the delight of the Bearcats and the dismay of the Bobcats.
“In the final minutes, we just let a guy dribble right by us,” Fleming added. “They crossed it and we didn’t clear it. None of this time have we not ran well, passed well, hustled hard for every ball to the last second. Besides that little breakdown, we played really good defense. You can say it is bad luck, which it is at times, but it is also being able to finish.”
Aberdeen had the final two minutes of regulation and an extended session of extra time for one last chance against Chehalis, but couldn’t put one together. The Bobcats finished the game with a 14-2 advantage in shots, but only a 4-2 margin in shots on-goal. The Bearcats scored on both of their shots.
Caba snapped the four-match scoreless drought when Victor Junco was taken down by defenseman Freddie Bautista in the 27th minute to bring a penalty kick. A long defensive clearance ball bounced over the Chehalis defense and allowed Junco and Caba to run onto the ball against two backtracking defenders.
On the spot kick, Caba hit a low, screaming shot into the right side of the net for the marker.
Senior Mateus Duarte nearly gave the Bobcats a 2-0 lead back minutes later when he beat two Chehalis defenders and forced Lucas to come out and challenge him. Duarte clipped the ball over Lucas, but the second bounce took the ball just over the crossbar in the 33rd minute.
Aberdeen enjoyed the lead and pressured for more, but left the field with a 1-0 halftime lead. Five minutes in the second half, the lead was gone.
On a long free kick, Aberdeen cleared the ball, but the head referee called a foul on a Bobcat inside the penalty area to give Chehalis a penalty kick. Enrique Bautista beat Myers to the left side of the net for the tie.
Aberdeen owned a 2-0 regular-season record against Chehalis, beating the Bearcats, 2-0 and 0-0 (4-2 PKs), before Tuesday’s match.