WORTHINGTON -- Before a bright half moon on a beautiful night for soccer, the Worthington Trojan boys defeated Fairmont 4-0 Tuesday night to improve to 6-0 on the season.
The Trojans, who beat a state-ranked Austin team 4-1 in convincing fashion on Saturday and entered Tuesday’s game ranked for the first time (No. 8 in Class AA), were clearly the better team against a Fairmont squad that came in with a 4-1-2 record. And yet, the locals did not play up to their capabilities in the first half, according to head coach Juan Flores.
It is probably a testament to their talent and athleticism that thus far has been far superior to their rivals that the Trojans are impressive even when they’re not perfect. Flores said his team’s passing wasn’t optimum in the first half on Tuesday, they looked uncomfortable with the ball on their feet, and they were rushing too much.
Worthington led only by one goal, 1-0, at intermission. They scored three goals in the second half and Flores was a little more satisfied.
Sophomore Jonathan Banegas scored his ninth and tenth goals of the season -- and the first two goals of the game. With 17:15 to play in the first half he stopped the ball, made a nice spin move, and slapped it in the net for a 1-0 WHS lead. Less than two minutes elapsed in the second half when he struck again from close range.
With 23:31 remaining in the game, Banegas booted the ball toward Fairmont’s goal on a corner kick and senior attacker Elmer Guzman was in great position to punch it in for 3-0. Then, just for emphasis, senior midfielder Menkem Mehri scored from long range with only 10 seconds remaining.
Flores said the Trojans don’t try to set up any particular player when they go on offense.
“We just move the ball up together. We try to play as much as we can as a team, and we try to get the ball to whichever one is in position to score,” he said.
Much of the time, it’s been Banegas, rather short in stature but very quick, very adept at getting to the ball wherever it is, and also very nimble with his feet and with his tactics.
The second half on Tuesday was notable not only for Worthington’s three goals and its continued excellence on defense, but for penalties. Both teams did a lot of jostling on the pitch, sometimes targeting their opponents as well as the ball. When the whistles went against WHS, it only seemed to increase the Trojans’ aggressiveness.
“I think we were just a little frustrated with how the game was called. But we can’t let that get to us. Adversity is what’s going to happen, and we’re going to face that all season,” Flores said. “It’s part of the game. Sometimes you get the calls and sometimes you don’t. We gotta take care of our game, and the game will take care of itself.”
Fairmont 0 0 -- 0
Worthington 1 3 -- 4