Early lead doesn't stand up for Flyers

Jan. 23, 2013 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated Jan. 22, 2013 at 7:23 p.m.

St. Joseph's John Sardhina kicks the ball past Pharr Oratory's Carlos Danache during the second half of the Flyers' matchup at O'Connor Athletic Complex on Wednesday.

St. Joseph's John Sardhina kicks the ball past Pharr Oratory's Carlos Danache during the second half of the Flyers' matchup at O'Connor Athletic Complex on Wednesday.

Once they converted its first chance into the first goal of the game, there was a belief within the St. Joseph boys soccer team that the Flyers would be able to win its first district game of the season.

John Sardhina's 14th goal of the season gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead over visiting Pharr Oratory in the 13th minute of Wednesday's match.

A second goal against the Ocelots, who have made it to the TAPPS Division III state tournament the last two years, could have given the Flyers the hope they needed for their first district win of the season.

But a second-half onslaught from the Ocelots led to a 5-1 victory Wednesday afternoon, sending St. Joseph to 5-9 on the season and 0-3 in TAPPS District 2, Division II play.

Sardhina had a pair of first-half opportunities, but Oratory goalkeeper Albert Ramirez made a pair of saves, one with his feet and another seconds before halftime.

"It's always good," said Sardhina when asked about the early goal. "We hoped that we had more goals, but the goals didn't come. We played all game expecting to win with one goal and that's what made us lose."

A pair of goals from Gabriel Maldonado in the 23rd minute and Jorge Garza five minutes before halftime left the Flyers with another uphill climb.

It didn't help that by that point the visitors had shaken off the cobwebs from the long bus ride from the Rio Grande Valley.

Oratory's constant possession led to incessant pressure on St. Joseph sweeper Shaughnessy Hall and the rest of the Flyers defense. At times there was more than 20 yards between the St. Joseph midfield and Sardhina because the midfielders were tracking back to assist the defense.

Hall, like Sardhina, felt the Flyers could hold out long enough to force a second goal. If they did, he was confident they would be able to go ahead and win Wednesday's game.

"It's hard to stay calm because there are men everywhere as well as your man," Hall said. "If you get out of control, the men around you will get out of control and it's a domino effect."

Oratory's goal in the 60th minute seemed to spur a domino effect Hall referenced. It wasn't the fact Luis Ruiz' goal gave the visitors a 3-1 lead, it was the fact a trio of defenders helped deflect Ruiz' first shot only for the rebound to bounce to him and put it home at the near post.

"In the first half we did well, but I would say we didn't do well overall," said St. Joseph head coach Omar Amaral. "We're still having the same issues: play well in the first half, fall apart in the second half. We haven't learned from our mistakes. But, the good thing is we're through the hardest part of our district schedule."

The visitors scored two more late goals to run away with the game. Though St. Joseph has lost its last two games by a combined 13-1 score, the quality of their opponents likely had something to do with it.

The Flyers have played two top-notch opponents in their last two district games. Oratory made the state tournament in TAPPS Division III the last two years, while San Antonio Christian, who beat the Flyers 8-0 over the weekend, has qualified state the last eight years.

"We have a good chance of winning our next couple games," Hall said about upcoming matches against Austin Regents and San Antonio TMI. "We're working more as a team instead of individuals."



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