Last Saturday, the Trinity men’s soccer opened their spring season with a friendly match at Toyota Field, losing 1-0 against the San Antonio Scorpions. The Tigers ended their fall season 21-3-1.
The Tigers were off to a good start in the first half. They played well defensively and were able to fend off the Scorpions’ attack from any goal-scoring opportunities. Junior midfielder Victor Araujo had a few shots on goal, but was unable to connect to the back of the net.
“This game was a kind of a splash of cold water to the face, with realizing how much we’re losing from the legacy that the seniors left,” said assistant coach Chesley Farmer. “We have a long way to go to get back to a top-level team in the fall. It was hard not having all the guys we’ve counted on for so long representing us anymore. However, I thought defensively we were excellent. We held a professional team to one goal. We were very pleased with our defensive effort, and the main point of improvement will be our offense and having more shots on goal. In the fall, we will be focusing on attack and the way we are able to score goals without key players.”
Despite keeping a clean sheet in the first half, the Tigers were unable to hold back Scorpions forward Sainey Touray, who scored the game-winner in the 59th minute of the second half. Both the Tigers and Scorpions had continued shots on goal, but were unable to score. Junior goalkeeper Matt Cardone recorded multiple saves in the game.
“They definitely dominated the possession, but we defended well for the whole game,” said first-year defender Zac Treu. “We had a couple of opportunities where we could have gone ahead and took the lead early in the game and at the start of the second half, but we fell short. They had a couple of good opportunities that Matt saved, but other than that, we defended well and they didn’t have that many chances to score. We just started playing again for this spring season,” Treu said. “We were kind of expecting to be a little shaky, but we came out well, really organized, and strung a couple of good passes together, a couple of good plays, so the future is bright.”
Two seniors, midfielder Darren McAfee and defender Jeff Hayes, participated in the friendly match and are practicing with the Tigers team, as both are pursuing playing after college and in summer leagues.
“I thought the game went well, considering we were lacking a lot of fitness going into the game,” McAfee said. “It was good for the team to compete against a professional team; we proved that we can play at a higher level. I thought a lot of the younger guys stepped up, not only in leadership roles, but with more responsibility on the field. It’s a good start for next year; a lot of positives can be taken from the game.”
The Tigers realize the difficulty the team faces in replacing the contributions of the senior class.
“The seniors were very important to us for leadership, experience and everything you’d expect out of a senior,” Treu said. “It’s definitely hard losing such a large senior class; it’s frustrating having them leave, but at the same time it’s good for us to move on and have new leaders step up.”
None of the Tigers’ spring season games are official, but they will hold inter-squad scrimmages, as well as a potential scrimmage against the University of Incarnate Word.