Boys fall on late goal
The Emmaus and Parkland boys soccer teams know each other well. They sometimes square off as many as four times in a year, like last year.
The Trojans went 4-0 against the Green Hornets last season on their way to Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and District 11 championships, breaking Emmaus’ streak of two straight district titles.
But despite all of those setbacks last season, this year’s Green Hornets team has a lot of talent and experience returning, while the Trojans lost more than half of their starting lineup.
However, the first meeting between the rivals in 2018 ended the same way as all four games last season as the Hornets fell to Parkland on a last-second goal, losing 1-0 last Wednesday night at Parkland High School in the Sixth annual Red Card for Cancer game.
Brice George took a quick dribble to the end line by the Emmaus goal, and before the ball crossed the touch line, he sent in a low, line-drive cross across the face of the six-yard box that was met by a powerful strike of Justin Douglas for the game’s only goal with 17 seconds left.
“Real tough ending,” said Hornet head coach John Cari. “Douglas did a great job putting that one away. I’m not going to slight anyone. The kid who got the ball [George], I couldn’t see him, but he made a good run. He was fighting like heck with 17 seconds left. He didn’t quit on it. And Justin did a great job putting it in.
“I thought we had the better of the second half. We struggled a little bit in the first half. We’re looking at overtime, how we’re going to make our adjustments and then that happens. It’s tough.”
Both teams had their chances on a humid evening.
In the first half, Parkland had three shots but could not find the back of the net. It also held Emmaus to no shots over the first 40 minutes.
In the second half, the Hornets outshot the Trojans 5-2.
Senior forward Justin Llado proved to be a terror on the outside with his speed, repeatedly getting up the field and dribbling past Parkland defenders. Andrew Gaines, Jake Perry and Jake Groh helped to control the midfield in the second half and create scoring opportunities.
When it seemed destined that the game was bound for overtime, George made the quick move on a Hornet defender and somehow got a cross into the danger area. Unfortunately for Emmaus, the first foot to the ball was Douglas’.
It also did not help that Emmaus lost senior defender and captain Callen Reid to injury in the first half.
Emmaus fell to 1-2 overall and 1-1 in the EPC after three difficult games to open up the 2018 campaign.
“It’s early and look who we’ve played,” Cari said. “We’ve played Northampton on a real small field in the rain [a 3-2 win]. We’ve played Cumberland Valley [a 2-0 loss], a tough team that just smacked Central Dauphin, and now Parkland, which is the reigning district champ. We’ve opened with a real tough schedule. How can I be upset?”