By David Tuma, Publisher
Jacob Bell scored the game winning goal off a corner kick by Blake Odell with 29:39 left in the game. Goalie Chris Noble and the Tigers defense stopped multiple opportunities by Irving MacArthur in a 4-0 pounding the Tigers dished out at Wilson-Kerzee Field.
It was a rare playoff home game for the Tigers who have been matched up with Houston and Dallas teams in the first round for most of the past decade. For a program used to winning in the playoffs, it was another day in the office.
Tyler Fisher set up what ended up to be a series of corner kicks that led to Bell’s game winning goal at 30:53. Tyler McLean almost scored on the first corner and Bell did on the third corner to make it 1-0.
Brandan Coulter had a stop and Thomas Shelburne blocked a crossing pass near the 28-minute mark. Noble had the first of several one-on-one stops. Austin Hagen had a steal and drive at 23:05. Misael Vargas scored headed in a corner kick at 21:00 to make it 2-0.
Bell hit a crossing pass at 18:28. Noble had three brilliant saves in a two-minute span near the 16-minute mark. Noble made some big time saves. His judgment on where to be was as good as it can get.
Ryan Diaz who gave Mac Arthur problems all night scored off a pass from Mclean to make it 3-0 at 13:24. McLean hit a line drive to Diaz from 12-yards out, who redirected the ball into the back of the goal. It was a brilliant play by both players and it iced the game.
Shelburne had a huge stop at 10:18 with the half ended 3-0.
Tyler Fisher and Mclean had a stop to start the second half. Paxton Smith who had a huge night on defense added a stop at 32:36. Belton’s defense weathered a hard pressed MacArthur team trying to get back in the game.
Smith had a clear at 27:20. McLean off a steal passed to Odell who was tackled from behind in the box drawing a huge reaction from the crowd. Smith had another clear and Mclean added another stop. Odell passed to Fisher who scored to make it 4-0. The Tigers coasted the final 21 minutes of the game. MacArthur had their opportunities and are a very good team. Their combination attacks were impressive. Belton’s second playoff game had none of the grabbing and hitting in the back from the first game.
It was clean and it was impressive. Noble’s stops made the game seem like a blowout which it was not from a competitive standpoint. Noble easily stopped three shots that should have went in.
The Tigers lost to North Mesquite in their third game. They fell behind 1-0 at half. Odell scored to start the second half to tie the game. In the final five minutes Mesquite scored to advance and improve their record to 20-3-1.
Belton’s team ended up being one of the best in their history this season. They weren’t that way at the midpoint. They were never bad just weren’t what they were capable of.
Soccer has a flow, when it is played correctly. Belton’s ability to create scoring opportunities off a defensive stop was as good as they have even been in a long time. It was like the play Mclean made. He didn’t try a shot at the goal. He hit the ball to Diaz who redirected it past a diving goalie. Mclean hits that shot on goal, it gets stopped.
It was those little things like those no look passes between players. It looks easy but it isn’t.