Boys’ Soccer Scores Big in League Victory

Farhad Taraporevala and Simrat Singh

Boys’ soccer (2-4-1) won 3-0 at home against Beckman High on Jan. 24, as the team came together for a strong team win. The Bulldogs have struggled in league games this year, but the team broke the four-game slump thanks to a resilient defense, a pass heavy offense and a stellar goalkeeping effort from senior Ethan Dru. The next league game is today at the stadium at 3:15 p.m. against Northwood High.

The team started out quickly by emphasizing its attack early in the game, netting two first-half goals from juniors and left wingers Sherwin Salehi and striker Sam Al Qaraghuli. One of the keys in breaking down the Patriots’ defense was to communicate more effectively with each other, as the team focused on passing it back to the defenders and building the attack gradually rather than rushing with more individual-based play, according to senior centerback Shayan Moghaddam.

“We have several individuals that are incredible club players, and when they come on to this team, they just think they are a little bit better than everyone else, so it was us coming together as a team, and this was the first time we have done it, and it was beautiful,” coach Marcus Kempff said. “I think we played incredibly well…the main thing I wrote on the whiteboard before the game was possession, possession, possession, because we have more skill than any other team. We just weren’t playing together as a team.”

The second half brought a stark contrast as the Bulldogs found themselves far more defensive. Tasked with surmounting a two-goal lead, the Patriots pushed forward with three attackers up front; the game mostly took place in the Bulldogs’ half of the field, leaving the Patriots open to counterattacks. One of these counters led to a brilliant team-based goal from junior striker Sikyeong “S.K.” Kim.

“My favorite play of the game was our third goal,” senior, central defensive midfielder and co-captain Anirudh Chaudhary said. “It was a through ball down the line to Sherwin, who crossed it into the middle to S.K., who slotted it into the top right corner [of the goal] with his left foot,” 

Despite a rough start to the season, the team has displayed a tight-knit bond in its performances. Throughout the game, the players on the bench continued to cheer during the high moments, providing insight and laughter during mistakes. 

“I think the number one thing we did was we played as a team,” senior midfielder Mustafa Hassan said. “We all did it for each other, and it wasn’t a battle between each other; it was a battle against the other team, and I think when we connected our passes, and we played together, I think that is what got us a win today.”