Jaguars hold off Bulldogs 4-3
By David Boldt
A late surge by the CCS Bulldogs made what looked like it was going to be an easy win for the Jaguars into a real nail-biter in which SCCS finally won 4-3, enabling Co-operative to claim an undefeated day at the Friendship Games Thursday.
The game came at the end of what had been a long, draining day for both teams. Each had played a soccer game earlier in the day, and many of the players on both teams had also played a volleyball game as well. The game started slowly with the two teams testing each other, both able to move the ball, but neither forcing the goalies to heroic measures.
Josue Abuawad opened the scoring for the Jaguars, set up by a fine pass from Juan Carlos Laguna. A short while later the score went to 2-0 in favor of the Jaguars when Nicolas Aguirre headed in a corner kick.
That lead was halved when Bulldog Rodrigo Pena neatly threaded a free kick past the Jaguars' wall and into the corner of the net just out of reach of Jaguar goalie Eduardo Rivera.
However, Rafael Sakuma retaliated for the Jaguars with a long booming kick from the left side of the goal, giving Cooperative a 3-1 lead at the half.
Things continued going the Jaguars' way as the second half started. Aguirre got an open shot that missed, but only minutes later he got a second very similar opportunity, and this time he nailed it, putting the Jaguars ahead by what might have seemed a comfortable 4-1 margin.
But then Pena of the Bulldogs got another free kick opportunity and converted it into a goal, this time with a long, low kick that skidded into the corner of the goal.
Bulldog Adrian Armijo cut the Jaguar advantage to a single goal with his score, and there was still plenty of time on the clock.
Both teams were now tired and desperate, and the game became the soccer equivalent of trench warfare. Laguna of the Jaguars connected on what seemed to be a fifth goal for the Jaguars that would have giuven them some much needed breathing room, but it was called back for an offside penalty. He later missed on an attempted diving header.
The Bulldogs also had their chances, and two yellow cards were issued to increasingly frantic Bulldog players, and collisions resulted in two players -- one Jaguar and one Bulldog -- requiring medical attention. Thge Bulldog player had to hobble off the field.
The action only became more intense after the referee announced to both coaches that there were five minutes remaining in the game, and time ran out on a dangerously well placed Bulldog corner kick.