Trojans fall to unbeaten Hornets
Last season, Parkland downed Emmaus in the Class AAA boys soccer finals to add another volume to the rivalry between the two schools in boys soccer.
Another chapter was written recently when Emmaus downed Parkland 1-0 in the first regular season meeting of the two division rivals in the newly minted Skyline Division of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.
The win gave Emmaus (7-0-1, 6-0) a slight cushion over the Trojans (5-2, 4-2), who have now lost two straight, both by 1-0 scores.
The mini-losing streak is surprising, since Parkland scored 24 goals in its first five games and seemed to have an unstoppable offensive attack.
"I think we're not quite clicking to go forward, quite yet," said coach Patrick Birns of his offense. "In the beginning, we had a little flair going on where we were making overlapping runs and quick passes and that just kind of disappeared, so hopefully, we get it back soon enough."
Parkland was the more patient team in a match that nearly got out of hand after several no-calls from the two officials. Players and coaches on both sides were constantly arguing for calls and those arguments, along with increasingly physical play, threatened to turn the game into more of a rumble.
Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and the game was completed without major incident, although four yellow cards were given, including one to Birns.
"It was a little disappointing," Birns said. "I'm more proud of both the Emmaus and Parkland boys in keeping their control, because there was a lot that was not called and was let go, but the boys kept control."
The game was scoreless until just under 15 minutes into the second half when Parker Landis fired a shot from 25 yards out and was able to just sneak it past goalie Evan Bleiler, who finished the game with eight saves.
"I thought it was definitely contrasting styles," Birns said. "They like to play more of a direct long-ball style and play it to their one forward, which created some opportunities, but in my reflection on the game, there weren't many opportunities both ways; not a lot of good looks at the goal.
"It was a battle in the midfield, back-and-forth. Parker [Landis] hit a great shot and that was the difference in the game."
The two teams meet again October 3 at Parkland during the regular season and if their play so far is any idication of how the two teams are going to play for the rest of the season, it's not difficult to imagine them meeting in the EPC playoffs or possibly in a rematch of last year's District 11 final.
For his part, Birns believes the two teams may have different styles, but are both strong candidates to go far this season.