By Colin Bado, TSB Contributor
Entering Tuesday night’s game, the McKinney Lions trailed rival McKinney Boyd by three points in the District 10-5A Boys Soccer standings. The Lions arrived at Boyd’s auxiliary field with the intentions of putting a dent in that lead.
“Crosstown Showdowns” bring out the best in all of the players. Both soccer teams are competing for a top spot in the district, and more importantly, bragging rights. And those went to Boyd, which won the match 2-1. MHS must wait for a March 22 rematch to try and gain revenge.
Boyd Coach Casey Osborn, said that this game was an illustration of a team handling adversity and playing with heart. He said he never doubted his team.
“If you keep your head, stick to the plan, and play with the right personnel, you allow yourself the opportunity to win,” Osborn said.
Nothing short of exciting, the match between the rivals was a physical bout between two powerhouse programs. Passionate play on the pitch led to heated disputes amongst enthusiasts in the stands. Late in the second half, the official asked a McKinney fan to leave because of his alleged “abrasive” comments. Tempers were flaring as questionable tackles by both teams could have, and perhaps should have, been carded, but were left undisciplined. The referees’ refusal to intervene resulted in disorder and disarray on the field.
Early in the first half, both teams struggled to find momentum. A midfield battle provided little chance for either team to take the lead. During the first half, both teams only managed two shots. Boyd failed to put one shot on goal the entire half, making careless mistakes and turning the ball over.
From the 33rd to the 36th minute, the Lions took complete control over the game. A direct kick from senior Mikie Swim led to a series of close opportunities for the Lions to take the lead. Finally, in the 36th minute, Swim found teammate Matthew West, who was able to capitalize and put the Lions up, one to nil.
The Lions maintained their lead through the majority of the game. With 10 minutes remaining, Boyd rallied. The referees issued two yellow cards almost back to back in the 75th minute to McKinney players Gerson Mendoza and Arshya Khalilan. The latter resulted in a direct kick that would completely turn the game around.
The Lions dream of coming away with a win was shattered in the 76th minute when Dillon Farrell, tied the game off of Khalian’s penalty. Feeding off that momentum, the Broncos continued to put pressure on the Lions. Ben Gupton conjured up another goal two minutes later, giving the Broncos the lead with two minutes reaming.
Boyd remains in first place in the district, but Osborn refuses to be content. “We will continue to get better as the season progresses,” he said. “We need to work on our defense during set plays.”
Boyd’s resiliency and determination could be felt in the crowd as fans cheered when the final buzzer sounded.
Leaving the stadium, a group of spectators was discussing the game and said, “Whoever said soccer was boring needs to come to one of these games.”
On Friday March 1, McKinney will face Plano High at home and Boyd will play at Plano West. The teams will face off again March 22 at McKinney High.
Photos courtsey of Jennifer Santos.