By Colin Bado, TSB Contributor
Fending off the freezing cold temperature on Friday night, the McKinney Lions boys soccer team went head to head against the Plano East Pirates at home. With an overall record of 9-2-2, the Lions were looking to get their first district win of the season at home against the Panthers.
Coming off a 0-0 tie against Plano Sr. High, MHS coach Alan Pocock was hoping to get a leg up in the district with a solid win at home. Unfortunately, the Lions would walk off the field with yet another tie, 1-1, leaving them at 0-0-2 in district 10-5A.
Controlling the first half, the Lions maintained possession of the ball the majority of the time skillfully managing the tempo of the match.
Lions center midfielder Mikie Swim provided his team with ample opportunities to score, but they were unable to capitalize on their chances. Running set plays derived from direct and indirect kicks, the Lions we able to get the ball into the box on a number of occasions, but could not get past the Panther goalkeeper.
McKinney’s defense was persistent during the first half, allowing only a few chances for Plano East to get a decent shot off. In the 29th minute, Plano East’s Travis King was able to work the ball past the Lions defense. King flicked the ball, aiming at the bottom right corner of the goal. Making a stunning save, keeper Quique Vicens, dove and deflected the ball just wide of the net.
As the first half began to wind down, McKinney refused to let up. Feeding off their momentum, the Lions meticulously worked the ball into East territory. Gerson Mendoza selflessly passed the ball in front of the goal to teammate David Soto. With 9 seconds remaining, Soto snuck the ball past the keeper, putting the Lions up 1-0 before the buzzer sounded.
East came out for the second half with a bitter taste left in its mouth. From the beginning, the Panthers were able to take advantage of McKinney’s leisurely pace. Keeping McKinney on its heels, East earned a corner kick four minutes into the half. Keven Morales of Plano East, placed the ball perfectly in front of Lion defenders, finding teammate Adam Schultz. With one touch, Schultz was able to tie the game at one.
Stunned by the goal the Lions were able to readjust and get back into the game. In the 50th minute, Swim put the Lions in a position to score, but the ball was deflected off the right post.
McKinney’s best opportunity to take the lead would come in the 53rd minute when Swim crossed the ball into box into a cluster of players from both teams. The ball rattled around and just missed the goal.
Playing in transition, East used its speed at the forward position to try to put themselves up 2 to 1. During the 54th minute East pinballed the ball into McKinney’s six-yard box. With the crowd in angst, the Lions cleared the ball, keeping the game ties at one.
McKinney’s defense, and aggressive goalkeeping by Vicens, kept East from seeing the back of the net during the remainder of the half.
Even though both teams refused to submit, neither team would walk away with a win.
McKinney will get another chance for its first district win on Tuesday, Feb. 19, against Plano West at Kimbrough stadium.