The Miami Trace Panthers boys soccer team began play in the Frontier Athletic Conference for the 2022 season with a home match Tuesday against the McClain Tigers. McClain won the match, 4-1.
With 1:17 remaining in the first half, Sekou Mara scored for the Panthers what proved to be their only goal of the match. Ian Rayburn got the assist.
McClain held a 2-1 lead at halftime.
McClain’s Hayden Hice made the hat trick with three goals. Hice converted a bicycle kick (an acrobatic strike where the player kicks an airborne ball backward in midair).
Emerson Yates scored the other goal for the Tigers.
Miami Trace outshot McClain, 26-14.
Valen Alvarado-Lorrin had 12 saves for the Panthers.
McClain improved to 2-1-1 with the win.
Miami Trace dippped to 1-2-2 with the loss.
“Coach (Nick) McNeal does a tremendous job of having his team ready to play,” Miami Trace head coach Josh Thoroman said. “They came out definitely more ready than we were. We played nervous for a good portion of the first half. We were tight and they were loose. They have a lot of good athletes and a lot of kids who play with a lot of desire.
“We tried to settle down and stay calm. The possession game wasn’t really working. Their team was beating us to the 50-50 balls. We played a good game. We were solid. We ran a lot of bodies in the first half and in the second half. We didn’t have much of a drop-off when we subbed. When you out-shoot someone like we did tonight and they make a bicycle kick and a 61-yard shot. Their scorer (Hice), I believe he now has six of their team’s nine goals. We knew it coming into the game, but we didn’t stop him.”
McClain head coach Nick McNeal said, “We started off the year with a tie (2-2) against (Ironton) St. Joseph. Then we played Alexander (an 8-1 loss by the Tigers). They’ve been pretty good for the last few years. We didn’t do well in that game, but I do think we have the ability to hang with them.
“We came out against Logan Elm Saturday,” McNeal said. “We worked on a lot of things in practice — formation, tactics, movement — just on how to score more goals as a team rather than just kicking the ball up the field. You could see that out on the field today. Ball movement was great. We drew their midfield out so that our attackers just have to take on that one defensive line in the back.”
Chris Hoppes is the sports editor for the Record-Herald in Washington C.H.