Cape boys soccer earn regional first round win
When the dust settled after Wednesday night’s first-round boys soccer Region 5A match between Cape Coral High School (17-4-5) and Osceola High School (13-7-3), the Seahawks found themselves in the win column, shutting out the Warriors 4-0 — though the game was much closer than the score appears.
A back-and-forth first half ended with no score from either team, then Cape exploded offensively in the second stanza.
Sophomore Lucas Rosales broke the scoreless tie in the second minute of the second half, chasing down a long pass from Jacob Jimenez and sliding it past the keeper.
Rosales would continue his stellar play, scoring yet again for the Seahawks, this time beating the keeper from the middle of the box, giving his team a 2-0 advantage in minute 61.
“We went more offensive in the second half,” said Cape head coach Dan Gross. “We’ve never played them, so we wanted to judge what they had in the first half, so we played more of a defensive formation. Just thought we could bring it to them in the second half, and we did — just changed up to a little more attacking.”
Gross said his young team may have been experiencing a bit of nervous energy in the first half — feeling out a much larger opponent in Osceola, but making the right adjustments to become successful.
“That wasn’t our best half honestly,” Gross said of the first 40 minutes. “I don’t think this was our best game. I mean they played a good game, credit to them — we’re capable of better soccer than this. We won, and that’s all that really matters — we were much better in the second half.”
Just six minutes after Rosales’ second goal, Cape’s Danilo Gomez, after streaking up the right sideline, centered one into the box and the ball found its way into the net off an Osceola defenders boot, giving the No. 3 seeded Cape Coral a 3-0 cushion.
Seahawk sophomore Braden Cathey tied a bow on the victory with the fourth Cape Coral goal in minute 71 to all but seal the deal.
“We loosened up a little bit,” Gross said. “You could see the other team got tight. You could see the pressure get put on them, then we got another one really quick, and that seemed to be the end of the game.”
Rosales, who was the ignitor of the second half surge by the Seahawks, did not play in the first half and was injected into the lineup by Gross to provide some extra speed.
“He brings speed and size,” Gross said of Rosales. “He’s fast as can be — he’s strong. He’s not a tall guy but he’s very strong — a very physical player. You could see his speed is what separated him, we didn’t have speed in the first half, one of our strikers (Diego Alvarez) has the flu, and he’s probably the fastest on our team, so that’s what we were lacking in the first half. I wanted to get back to having some speed.”
Maybe the most important play of the game came in the final minute of the first half when Cape senior goalkeeper Joey Zakrewski came up with a massive diving save in the upper quadrant of the goal to keep the game scoreless before the break.
“It’s a big save,” Gross said. “We’re blessed to have two goalies who would pretty much start on any team. We chose to go with Joey (Zakrewski) today because they looked tall. We judge who is going to be our starting goalie based on (the other team’s) size — what we think they’re going to bring. You can tell when they’re all 6-foot-5, they’re going to play in the air. So we need a goalie who could get in the air. He’s been great for us, both of our goalies have been great all year.”
Moving forward, Gross wants to see his squad sharpen some tools, but is confident they can match up well with any opponent.
“We need to tighten up,” Gross said. “We need to play better than this. We’ve taken on the top teams in the state. We know we can beat anyone if we play our game, and we’ve got to have everyone on at the same time.”
Cape Coral will play No. 2 seed Seminole High School Saturday at 7 p.m. on the road.
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