CARROLLTON – The Colony boys soccer team wanted to play with tempo.
That was the message that Cougars head coach Lee Weddall imparted on his players during halftime of Thursday afternoon’s game against Newman Smith. He knows that his team is at its best when they play up-tempo and are aggressive to win the free balls. That’s why Weddall implored his Cougars to play quicker and to eliminate the individual mistakes that allowed the Trojans to gain a two-goal advantage at intermission.
It was a message that was well-received by the Cougars.
The Colony (3-0) scored three goals in an eight-minute span in the second half, including a long blast by senior Elijah Elias with 12:43 left that proved to be the game-winner, to lift the Cougars to a 3-2 victory at Standridge Stadium.
“Even with us being two goals down, I still think that we would have a chance,” Weddall said. “I could see that (Newman Smith) were getting tired. I thought that we were in better physical shape than they were. We had the wind behind us, and our guys got roasted by our halftime speech. Everything was in our favor to mount a comeback.”
The Colony finally broke through after a low shot by senior Yosmar Reyes crossed the goal line with 20:34 left in the match to trim Newman Smith’s lead to 2-1.
Cougar freshman midfielder Blake Galvez knotted the score at 2-all four minutes later.
The Colony made it three goals in less than eight minutes after Elias buried a long-range shot for a 3-2 Cougar lead with 12:42 left.
“Even when the chips are down, even when they missed that penalty kick, they truly could have put the nail in the coffin,” Weddall said. “You’re really starting to think that it’s not your day, but (team captains Elijah Elias, Victor Esquivel and Abdullah Boutari) kept motivating everyone, especially Eli. He’s a real positive influence in the middle for us.”
After being held without a goal in each of their first two games against Frisco Lebanon Trail and Highland Park, the Trojans (0-3) needed less than six minutes to find the back of the net for the first time in 2021.
With the wind at his back, Newman Smith sophomore Isaac Valadez positioned himself 7 yards in front of the net, received a pass from the left wing and buried a one-timer for a 1-0 Trojans’ lead.
Valadez nearly made it a two-goal lead for Newman Smith later in the half but had a shot glance off the top crossbar, keeping it a one-score game.
With time winding down in the half, Trojan senior Jordan Martinez blasted a free kick onto The Colony goal-keeper, but senior Sean Chavez came out of nowhere to fire home the rebound on a header to give Newman Smith a 2-0 lead.
“We just want to utilize the wings so when we are able to get it out there and attack outside in, we can get the ball to them,” said Jarred Garcia, Newman Smith head coach. “We’ve got speed on the outside. When you get it to a few of our guys out there, they have some foot skill to hold onto the ball and find some of those diagonal runs and get behind the defense.”
A majority of the second half was spent in Newman Smith’s end of the field. The Colony was more aggressive and more deliberate with its attack. The Cougars were rewarded with eight corner kicks in the second half after just two in the first half.
Newman Smith goalkeeper Jesus Puga dove to his left to make a save on a penalty kick by The Colony senior Franklin Corona six minutes into the second half, but the Cougars remained persistent.