East Penn Press

Friday, September 21, 2018
PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSON Emmaus' Andrew McAllister gets by a Cumberland Valley defender during Saturday's game. PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSON Emmaus' Andrew McAllister gets by a Cumberland Valley defender during Saturday's game.
PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSONEmmaus’ Eric Johnson splits a pair of Cumberland Valley defenders during Saturday’s game at Memorial Field. PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSONEmmaus’ Eric Johnson splits a pair of Cumberland Valley defenders during Saturday’s game at Memorial Field.

Boys soccer splits first two games

Thursday, September 6, 2018 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

After a hard fought 3-2 win over Northampton Friday afternoon, the Emmaus boys soccer team was back at it again just under 24 hours later to face a tough Cumberland Valley team at Memorial Field.

The Hornets never really seemed to get on track and fell 2-0 to the Eagles, who got a goal from Christian Esquivias early in the first half and then another almost halfway into the second half of the game from Eric Leach.

In the win over Northampton (0-1 EPC, 0-1 overall), Emmaus fell behind early but battled back. Nick Cari, A.J. Febbraro and Justin Llado all scored for Emmaus, while Jake Groh added two assists in the game.

In the two games, there were a total of 10 yellow cards handed out, but Hornet head coach John Cari said the officiating in the two games was like night and day.

“They were throwing cards for all sorts of reasons and it was wild and uncalled for,” said Cari about Friday’s contest. “[Saturday], I thought when Creyn [Muthard] got knocked down that should have been a yellow card because he got elbowed. Jake [Groh] got a yellow that was a little cheap, but he got hit from behind so I guess that’s why they called it and Nick we thought was 50-50, but the fact that the kid went down and it didn’t sound good I think made it a yellow. You really can’t compare the officiating in the two games though.”

What you can compare is how the Emmaus team (1-0, 1-1) started in the two games. Both games saw them looking a little tentative and lacking much aggression. Against Cumberland Valley (1-0), the Eagles came out physical and Emmaus was being knocked around the field and didn’t match the intensity of Cumberland Valley. The pace picked up somewhat in the second half but the Eagles always seemed to be a step ahead of Emmaus.

“They’re a talented, hardworking, good communicating, physical team and we know that,” said John Cari. “We have to be able to adjust and give back the same. I think we showed a little of that and we fought harder in the second half but it wasn’t our best day.

“I need a little more fire from some kids. It takes prodding to get them to step up and be aggressive. When we did get going in the second half we were better about that, but we have to come out here ready to go.”

One of the things that bothered Cari is that Cumberland Valley scored both goals on set pieces, one a corner kick and the other a direct kick. It’s a trend that he recognized even during preseason with the team and predicted that it would be a problem for the team if they didn’t take a more aggressive approach.

“We have problems on those set pieces,” Cari explained. “We came out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday and I said ‘this is how they’re going to score, guys. You need to be sharper.’ As a matter of fact, it happened yesterday and it happened today that they didn’t really get a lot of good shots in the run of play, but when play stops and we restart, that’s where we weren’t at our best.

“We were very disorganized and they didn’t look tight to me. Yesterday [Friday] was a tough situation and today I didn’t think we came out hard. I’d like to see a little more spark and energy but it’s tough coming out back-to-back. It was a tough game. We’ll move on from here.”

Emmaus visits rival Parkland Wednesday evening. The teams tussled four times last season, with the Hornets dropping both regular season games and suffering losses to the Trojans in the finals of both the EPC and District 11. Parkland went on to last year’s state semifinals.

Emmaus again has back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday with home games against Nazareth on Friday and Downingtown West on Saturday.