With a newly stacked roster, Annandale High School men’s varsity soccer played their first preseason game at Falls Church in which they suffered a 2-0 defeat.
Eight days later they played their second and final preseason game at home in which they lost to J.E.B Stuart by a close score of 1-0.
Both of these games were used to make clear what final adjustments the lineup needed to make the Atoms’ season as successful as possible. The Atoms will play their first game at Thomas Edison High School on Monday, March 12.
“It is great that we know which players fit best in what positions and what our weaknesses are as a team before the Edison game,” senior Captain Rudy Flores said. “Also, so far we have improved our communication around the field, passing the ball more quickly and playing as a team.”
Most of the game against Stuart, especially the first half, was practically a stalemate.
Possession remained at about 50 percent for each team and there were many opportunities set up. Until the middle of the second half, no team was able to pull ahead.
There were a few breakthroughs through the defense on both sides, but all shots on goal either missed or were saved.
However, most of the action took place in the middle of the field where each team was giving their best effort to keep possession in order to create opportunities.
Overall, in terms of possession and shots on goal, each team seemed to gain the upper hand at times but then started to lose the ball. The opposing team would then gain the upper hand until they started to lose possession. The game remained in this manner until Stuart was finally able to pull ahead and win the game.
It was a free kick on Annandale’s right side of the field. The ball came in, Stuart kept possession and the Atom’s defense was unable to clear it. Stuart had an easy shot on goal and scored.
For the rest of the game, the possession remained on Annandale’s side for the most part and opportunities started to open up.
During the 84th minute, six minutes before the game ended, Annandale broke through the Raider’s defense and opened up a one on one with the keeper.
Unfortunately, the shot was just wide right.
After that last unsuccessful shot on goal, Annandale was not able to create any other major chances and ran out of time and lost a well-fought game.
“Overall as a team, we are in a good position to start making some noise in the district,” Coach Rico Moore said. “But, we have to identify and answer some questions about where we need to be more solid and cohesive on the field.”
Moore and the team have all said that the team’s goal for the season is to win the district championship and go to regionals. Right now, they could be in the right spot to do just that.
“I feel really positive about the season because we have a large pool of talented players who have a lot of passion to win games,” Flores said. “In addition, I hope to improve as a player and to help the team to have a successful season.”