Trojans top EHS boys soccer
Emmaus coach John Cari wasn’t about to make any excuses for his team’s 2-0 loss in the District 11 championship game against Parkland.
It was the fourth time this season that the Trojans downed Emmaus and the game was filled with officiating that was disputed by both sides and yellow cards that were handed out pretty freely late in the game.
“It was just too little, too late,” said Emmaus head coach John Cari, whose team was looking for a third straight district title. “I think the second goal and the melee that happened with the cards woke us up a little bit, but it was too little, too late. They’re a good team. They’re a very good team and I expect them to be dangerous in the state playoffs.”
The melee that Cari referred to came when a scrum ensued in front of the Emmaus net and goalie Sam Cho wound up being run over and taken out of the play. The ball bounced around and wound up in the goal. Cho bounced up and argued the play with the official and was handed the second of three yellow cards given to Emmaus players during the game.
“I don’t know if it had any direct correlation that would have made a difference, but the last goal, I thought Sam just got run over and I don’t see how it’s possible that can happen,” said Cari. “I think it was a tough call and we didn’t want to see Sam get a card, but we knew he was frustrated and thinking ‘how could this happen?’
“There was already a goal in, so it wasn’t like it was a difference maker, but it was disappointing.”
The offense was the problem for Emmaus, which was the case in all four meetings against Parkland. The Hornets were unable to score a goal against the Trojans in any of the four games. Cari tried a different game plan for the championship and it worked early on, but still didn’t result in bringing enough offensive firepower.
“We put out a different formation; we went to a 4-3-3, which we hadn’t played at all this year,” said Cari. “I thought early on we were successful and I thought we had some good opportunities and were moving the ball. Then they got a weak goal, not that they didn’t play it well, but we didn’t do our job in the goal. Heads went down, play moved and we got out of the half. Things fell apart and we got a couple cards and they got a goal in there.”
The loss was especially frustrating for the Hornets because only one team from District 11 gets to play in the state tournament. District 11 and District 12 rotate having two teams in the tournament each year and this wasn’t District 11’s year, meaning it wasn’t Emmaus’ year.
“It’s very unfortunate the way this works,” Cari noted. “We would have really liked to have a play-in game with District 12 and we thought that was the best way to do it. We could have played Saturday and my understanding is that the District 11 coaches were on board and the District 12 coaches were on board and for some reason, it just didn’t happen, so it’s alternating years.”
Cari says good-bye to a senior class that played in district finals in each of its four seasons, winning two championships. This year’s team, which finishes 18-5-1, was marked by a strong defensive unit that allowed just 15 goals all season.
“We’re not a bad team,” said Cari. “We posted 16 shutouts this year and this is one of the better defensive teams that I’ve ever had, so it’s unfortunate that it has to end here. I’m proud of our efforts, but it just wasn’t there tonight.”
While Cari would have liked the opportunity to see what his team could have done in states, he believes that Parkland, who have allowed just seven goals this season on their way to a 22-1 record, is going to be an interesting team to watch.
“Hats off to them,” said Cari. “That’s a very good team and they haven’t let a lot of goals in this year. I’m not going to complain about it. They beat us four times and I really believe they have what it takes to make a run. I don’t know if they can win it, but they can make a run and I’ll be supporting them.”