CORINTH – During the practice session leading up to the biggest game of the season for the Lake Dallas boys soccer team, senior forward Anthony Patti and his Falcon teammates took a moment to glance at the District 6-5A standings.
With the season on the line for the Falcons on Monday night, Patti knew that Lake Dallas had to defeat Denton Ryan to remain in the hunt for a playoff berth. The Raiders were three points ahead of the Falcons in the district standings with only two matches remaining for both teams.
Lake Dallas took care of business on Senior Night. Behind two goals from Patti and a clean sheet by the Falcon defense, Lake Dallas dispatched Ryan, 4-0, at Falcon Stadium.
“The 3-0 loss that we had to Grapevine last Friday was devastating,” Patti said. “It was great motivation. Tonight was senior night. It was our last home game. It was our last chance. We came out and did everything that we had to do to earn the victory."
Once Lake Dallas (12-9-2 overall, 6-6-1 District 6-5A) figured out Ryan’s game plan on defense, the Falcons were relentless with their offensive attack.
Lake Dallas’ aggression paid off just over 13 minutes into the first half. Senior Adrian Garcia, waiting in front of the net, kicked home the rebound after the Ryan goalkeeper made the initial save to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead. Sophomore John Pelaez was credited with an assist.
It remained a one-goal game until the final minute of the first half.
Lake Dallas senior Chase Villareal volleyed a pass to sophomore Avery Brazzell. Brazzell dribbled the ball around a Ryan defender and kicked the ball into the net for a 2-0 Lake Dallas lead with 57 seconds ticks left on the game clock.
"It was a senior performance from my senior," said Brandon Martin, Lake Dallas head coach. "You need those guys to step up in these kinds of games and make those kinds of plays. He made up for his game the first time against Ryan when he missed a couple of chances. That goal put us where we needed to be."
Patti, meanwhile, was looking to finish off Ryan. He did everything but kick the ball into the back of the net through the game’s first 52 minutes.
Patti finally converted on a chance 12 minutes into the second half.
Patti was awarded a penalty kick after he was fouled in the box by a Ryan player. He converted the shot and then flexed his muscles for a video production team member for Lake Dallas ISD in a nearby corner of the stadium.
"I was trying to keep it cool, but I knew it was a big goal,” he said. “Right when I scored on my PK, my buddies were yelling at me to come over. They said that they had their phones out. It's great school spirit. You couldn't ask for better school spirit and a better senior night and a last game at home."
Lake Dallas junior goalkeeper Harley Fuller made some incredible saves along the way to earn the shut-out and was also aided by a stingy defensive performance by the Falcon back line. They volleyed several shots out of harm’s way and kept the deflections to a minimum.
"Both of our center backs, Brennan (Thiessen) and Sam (Montoya), played really well tonight," Martin said. "They were spot on with their clearances and distribution of the ball. Those two played really well. Ian (Watts) and Gabe (Despain) got involved and did a really good job."
A win in regulation by Lake Dallas against Richland next Monday or a loss by Ryan (8-9, 6-6) to Northwest on Tuesday wraps up a playoff berth for the Falcons.