9/11/2021- The Salesianum Boys’ soccer team played host to the Walter Johnson Wildcats of Bethesda, MD today in the regular season opener for both squads. The first scoring opportunity came early as Sallies turned the ball over in their defensive third of the field. The opportunity for Walter Johnson High resulted in a shot on goal that was saved but landed at the feet of #11 of the Wildcats who subsequently fired the rebound past the Sallies keeper into the back of the net. Sallies would respond almost immediately. Jake Ross, #23 for Sallies was given a through ball up the left sideline that quickly resulted in a shot on goal. The rebound landed right back at Ross’s feet and he made good on his second attempt using his right foot to send the rebound into the back of the net past a diving Wildcat keeper. The goal tied the score at 1-1 five minutes into the game.
After the early scoring, Walter Johnson controlled the pace for most of the first half. #13 for the Wildcats was the catalyst for most of their attacks as he controlled the midfield and created multiple scoring opportunities. At the midway point of the first, Sallies subbed out Ross which allowed Wildcat defenders to relax a bit, at least temporarily. With Ross on the bench, Sallies lacked any other viable options in the offensive 3rd of the field. Like clockwork, #23 returned with 2 min to go and had 2 shots on goal. His presence once again balanced the field for Sallies.
The Wildcats dominance in the middle third of the field continued into the second half which put Salesianum defenders on there heels deep into their own third. The adjustments at half time that Walter Johnson made appeared to nullify Ross at least initially until #23 found himself on the receiving end of another through ball which resulted in the first quality scoring opportunity of the second half. The rebound landed at the feet of a Sallies player who was unable to capitalized as the Wildcat keeper scrambled to cover the ball. A few minutes later, a tactical foul by Sallies in the midfield resulted in a yellow card and a free kick from about 30 yards out for the Wildcats. The free kick created a chaotic scramble in front of the net and #9 for Walter Johnson eventual ricocheted a shot off the left goal post into the back of the net resulting in a 2-1 lead in the 20th minute of the second half. Sallies would finally find it’s stride with 7 minutes to go in the game. They proceeded to fire off four shots on goal on four possessions challenging the Wildcat goal keeper. The 4th shot by Sallies proved to be too much as the Wildcat keeper could not secure the ball as it trickled across the goal line, resulting in a 2-2 score with 5 minutes to go. One minute later Sallies struck again as Jake Ross sent a strike from 10 yards out between the legs of the Wildcat keeper to put Sallies up for good. Reese Peddrick, #10 for Sallies, also made a strong showing in the game winning 50-50 balls in the midfield and controlling the pace of the 2nd half. Salesianum went on to win the game 3-2 with most of the action in the second half taking place in Walter Johnson’s defensive third of the field. Sallies travels to North Carolina later in the week to play Thursday and Friday before returning home to take on National soccer powerhouse, St. Benedict’s Prep. the following Tuesday.
By Joe Singles
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