Cowboys pick up first win of the year with victory over Panthers
The Crook County Cowboys played their best match of the year as they used a three-goal second half to knock off the visiting Redmond Panthers 3-1 in a non-league soccer match.
"I think they did a lot better," Crook County head coach Jeremy Logan said of his team's performance. "They communicated a lot better and they worked together as a team. They are finally starting to see the picture and understand what I am trying to communicate."
The match, which was originally scheduled to be played on Thursday, Sept. 7, was postponed due to smoke.
The two teams were finally able to make up the match Saturday afternoon, and the Cowboys came away with wins in both the varsity and JV matches.
Crook County dominated the time of possession in the first half, but were unable to find a way to score as the two teams went into the half tied 0-0.
Redmond had just two shots in the first half, while the Cowboys were in double digits in shots attempted, but were unable to find the goal.
The second half started very much the same. Crook County continued to pressure the Panthers, but still were unable to find a way to score.
Then, 10:40 into the second half Crook County got a bit of a lucky break. Jared Ojeda took a pass from Luiz Solano Jr. and drove a shot toward the Redmond goal.
Redmond goalkeeper Hunter Holmes appeared to have the shot stopped as he dove to his left for what looked like an easy stop. However, the ball was deflected by Redmond defender Jonathan Najera, bouncing into the goal behind Holmes.
"It's been a while since we felt the felling of winning, so it feels really good right now," Solano said. "The last game we learned that if we play together as a team and move the ball around more we'd get more chances and we practiced that today and it worked. We just played a good game."
The goal seemed to inspire the Cowboys and temporarily rattle the Panthers.
Two minutes later Solano picked up his second assist of the match. This time on a throw-in that went over the heads of several Redmond defenders and was knocked into the back of the goal by Crook County freshman Jesse Sanchez, who was playing in the first varsity match of his career.
Following that goal, the Cowboys appeared to get a little sloppy as they seemed eager to score again.
Redmond was able to go on the offensive, effectively counterattacking off of Crook County mistakes.
With 26:25 gone in the second half, the Panthers were on the offensive when Crook County defender Thomas Milat made an aggressive slide tackle.
Milat was a little late with his tackle, sliding into the Panther forward, and missing the ball.
A foul was called and Milat was issued a yellow card, forcing him to be subbed out of the contest.
Two minutes later, Alex Lopez scored for the Panthers, as they closed to within a goal.
Following the goal Milat returned to the field, and the Panthers never threatened again.
"We communicated more than we have been and we used our outside wings," Milat said. "We just decided from the beginning of the game that we were going to talk and use our wings and spread the field and give good passes and push the line for offsides, and we did really good."
Crook County added a late goal as Moses Freauff moved up from his midfielder position and blasted a shot from less than five yards out on the right side of the Redmond goal.
"We had a roster change this weekend and I think that helped," Logan said. "I think it allowed some other people to step up and take some leadership roles and it was more conducive to the rest of the team. They played a really good game."
Redmond had six shots on goal in the second half, with Crook County goalkeeper Mitchell Bennett making one spectacular diving stop.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys took 17 shots in the half, but struggled to consistently find the goal.
With the win the Cowboys improved to 1-4-1, while the Panthers fell to 0-6.
The Cowboys host Madras, 5-0-2, 2-0-2 today in a key league matchup. The team is home again on Thursday when they host Estacada, 2-4-2, 0-2-2. Estacada and Crook County tied in their first meeting of the season, while the White Buffalos and the Cowboys have not faced each other yet this season.
"Gladstone just tied Madras and we lost to Gladstone by just one goal," Logan said. "The league is pretty even across the board. Now we have to work on finishing."
Both games are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.