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BOYS SOCCER: Cleveland 1, Wilsonville 1 (10/2/2012)
October 14, 2012By Steve McCrea of Cleveland High School
Cleveland 1, Wilsonville 1
Cleveland took on 5A Wilsonville on Tuesday night at Cleveland Field. Wilsonville came into the game ranked second in the 5A division, so this was a good indicator of the Warriors' realtive strength against a quality 5A opponent.
Cleveland seemed a little flat in the first 10 minutes, missing on some midfield passes and allowing a breakaway shot from the left side in the 9th minute that caromed off the far post. The defense tightened up considerably after that point, and Wilsonville had no more serious scoring opportunities before halftime. Junior Mudy Abdikadir had a good look on an outside shot in the 11th minute, but otherwise, Cleveland fans also didn't see much of a scoring chance until late in the half.
Both teams had strong defensive performances during the rest of the half, and a lot of the play was in the midfield. But in the 36th minute of play, junior Braxton Griffith executed one of his patented long throw-ins into the box. The throw was headed into the air by senior Nick Van Marter, and then headed out of the leaping keeper's hands by junior Kevin Elliott McCrea. Junior Charlie Clark volleyed the ball the few remaining yards into the net to give the Warriors a 1-0 lead.
Cleveland came out playing harder in the second half, and dominated much of the play, outshooting the Wildcats 14-8 and having several good chances, mostly off of set plays. In the 53rd minute, Van Marter took a left-footed blast that hit the keeper from close range, after Elliott-McCrea knocked the ball across the box off a corner from Junior Adrien Baures, leading to another corner. On the ensuing kick, Van Marter hit a strong header that the keeper barely got his hands on. Junior Max Warmington also had a good look on an outside shot in the 65th minute. And junior Mo Abdikadir hit a great cross from Mudy just over the bar with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Junior keeper Hubie Charman made a good save on an outside shot from Wilsonville in the 58th minute, but the defense blocked or prevented most of Wilsonville's other shots. Unfortunately, the Warriors were unable to get an insurance goal into the net, and as the clock wound down, the score remained 1-0.
With less than two minutes remaining, the ball came across Cleveland's penalty area and was corralled by Braxton Griffith. Griffith was violently bumped off the ball, in a move that Cleveland fans all felt should have been a foul. The play ended in a throw-in for Wilsonville. The throw went right in front of Charman, who batted it away. But the ball struck a Wilsonville player and caromed off the near post. A Cleveland player hit the ball straight up in the air and off the cross bar. As it came down, a a clearing pass struck another Warrior defender and the ball ended up in the net.
Despite this unfortunate ending, it's fair to say that the Warriors played a good game against a high-ranked 5A opponent. It appears that this team can hang with the best of the competition, and a little more work on finishing plays will make them tough to beat.
Video highlights are available at: http://bit.ly/R6pOUE