Boys soccer battles Emmaus to 0-0 draw
A number of animals sharpen their own teeth for when they attack their prey. So, despite playing to a draw in their season opener to Emmaus, the metaphor Parkland boys’ soccer head coach Patrick Birns used to describe his squad is pretty spot on.
“There were a lot of kids that sharpened their teeth for the first time on the varsity level, against Emmaus,” Birns said after Friday’s scoreless draw. “So the speed and the pace we played with, I was super happy with that.”
Birns started a number of Trojans that are new to the varsity stage in Saturday’s 0-0 match at Parkland High School, the first of two annual Red Card Cancer awareness games. And despite not punching one into goal, there were plenty of opportunities.
“I was happy,” Birns said. “I think the one thing coming out here is our fitness isn’t the best. That was kind of obvious for us, and they are a fit team, so that was a little disheartening for us. But we knew that going in.
“We have a lot of juniors that didn’t see the experience that they did last year. We’re starting two sophomores, too, so we’re a little bit younger than normal. A lot of them are playing at high level clubs anyway.”
After Emmaus finished the opening half with a 3-2 advantage in shots, the Trojans had their fair share of opportunities in the final 40 minutes of regulation. Those chances came from a variety of different players.
Dawson Berger was awarded a free kick from 25 yards out early in the second half, but Emmaus goalie Dylan Sosnow was there for one of his 10 saves. A couple minutes later, Peter Kwakye-Acklah juked one Hornet defender and had a one-on-one opportunity with Sosnow. Sosnow, however, got the better end of the deal once again.
“I thought Peter had a lot of chances,” Birns said. “Their goalie played really unbelievable. Their goalie probably had, off the top of my head, four big-time, point-blank saves that really kept them in the game. I think our guy Jake Varrato had the one that was off the line early in the second half. He cut out a lot of opportunities with crosses that really don’t go down as saves, but he did a great job of cutting things off.”
The Trojans’ best opportunity came midway through the second half. Two Parkland shots in succession were saved by Emmaus, including the second one by a Hornet defender with his foot in front of the goal line.
Emmaus also had its chances on goal, particularly in the final minutes of regulation. With under nine minutes remaining, a cross came over the field and the Hornets’ CJ Semet directed the shot on goal. But Varrato recorded the last of his seven saves. A Hornet header as time expired trickled just wide of Parkland’s net.
Neither team ended up as a winner on the scoreboard, both squad’s were triumphant in the 4th annual Red Card Cancer game. Last week’s game benefited Parkland student Brody Boyer, and the second game will be played at Emmaus in early October.
“I think it’s great to bring two rivals together,” Birns said. “It’s Parkland and Emmaus to show that at the end of the day we all have friends that are battling cancer. The fact that we’re recognizing a member of our school system and community says something about these boys.”