DOBSON — Surry Central was undefeated through eight matches, but couldn’t keep it going against a good Salisbury team in a 5-1 loss.
“This is exactly what I wanted,” said coach Blake Roth. The boys were feeling pretty good about themselves at 6-0-2, and they needed a wakeup call that there are teams in the 2A that are further along than they are.
There are three S’s in soccer, said Roth. Skills, speed and size. The Golden Eagles never have much size, but they often have an advantage in speed and skills, he noted. In this game, not only was Salisbury bigger, but a couple of players had speed to go with that size.
Landon Goodman (17) was one of those players for the Hornets. He attacked several times in the game and made things happen.
Goodman and keeper Arturo Ramirez were the two MVPs of the game for Salisbury, said Roth.
Ramirez made several good stops, including three balls that likely who have beaten every other keeper the Eagles have seen so far this season, he said.
Brayan Gomez hit a low screamer toward one of the posts, and Ramirez still made the play, he pointed out.
“Before the game I told my team that from this point on, we are going to treat every team like they are the best in the state — and in this case it’s probably true,” he said. Roth said Salisbury likely will make the Elite Eight in the 2A playoffs, if not further.
Games like this are important to give the guys a measuring stick, so they can see how far they’ve come and how far they still need to go, the coach believes.
The first two goals weren’t exactly great examples of what Salisbury can do, but the visitors outplayed Central for much of the game, he said.
The game was scoreless until Goodman chased down a pass up the left side. He made one touch, curving toward the goal, but the ball started to roll out the baseline. Goodman kicked the ball after it crossed out of bounds and sent it back into the field of play.
The ball hit defender Moises Pineda who was rushing back to get in front of the near post. The ball hit Pineda, bounced up and struck Goodman in the chin, who was standing out of bounds.
The sideline official didn’t see that the ball had already gone out when Goodman kicked it, and Salisbury got a corner kick. The Hornets converted to go up 1-0.
A few minutes later, the Hornets had a throw-in from the left, and Central only had a couple of defenders near the top of the 6-yard box.
The throw-in deflected off Goodman’s ankle, then ricocheted off Pineda’s shin guard into the net.
It remained 2-0 at the half.
A couple of minutes into the second period, the Eagles were on attack when Ramirez caught a shot and passed out to the right. The Hornets streaked up the right sideline and scored quickly to make it 3-0.
The lead reached 5-0 before Central got its only score.
Roth said he wanted to see how his young players would react to the tough opponent. He moved Justo Cristobal to defense and inserted freshman Andres Flores.
Andres was fearless in attacking the goal, he said. The goalie came out, and there was a collision. Flores got to the ball first and scored.
That was a gutsy play, and hopefully the upperclassmen learn something from this freshman’s move.
The team came out tentative at the start, but the guys need to show Andres’ drive to impose their will on other teams.
Next week, the Eagles have three home matches: East Surry, North Davidson and Mount Airy.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692 and on Twitter @SportsDudeJeff.