With few chances to score, Cuyamaca proved to be the more lethal team as they beat the Owls 2-1.
The Fighting Owls took the home field in their dark blue uniforms to host the Cuyamaca Coyotes dressed in their all white uniform. Kickoff began at 2:07 PM with the Coyotes getting a corner in the opening minute.
Ericson Trujilo took the corner for the Coyotes and whipped the ball in front of goal but went untouched and out for a goal kick.
The Owls enjoyed a good spell of possession in the opening 5 minutes of the Coyotes half but produced zero chances to score.
The Owls were hit by injuries early on in the game when starting keeper Gregory Veron was taken off for the rest of the game in the 13th minute. It is unclear as to why Veron was taken off but he has been troubled by a recent groin injury. Cesar Valverde would come in to replace the injured Veron.
Central defender Justin Dryer also went down early on when Dryer got caught in a collision with multiple players from both teams. The collision looked worse than it actually was but Dryer was able to run off the knock.
20 minutes into the game and both teams failed to create a good chance from open play. It was a hard fought battle in the midfield for possession with plenty of players charging in for tackles and plenty of headers to be won.
In the 27th minute, the Coyotes had some solid build up play with some nice 1-2s outside of the Owls box, but a poor through ball ended the attack as Valverde gathered the pass.
The first yellow card of the game was handed out to Ismael Rodriguez of the Owls for a hard foul on Daniel Navarro of the Coyotes.
The first goal of the game came from the Coyotes first shot of the game, as Irving Vorbon passed the ball to Brett Schmidt who fired a shot to the bottom right of the Citrus goal from 25 yards out.
The Owls responded quickly as Ryan Wasan of the Coyotes committed a foul in the penalty area. Shusuke Kajiwara took the penalty but Arvin Yakou, keeper for the Coyotes, came up with a big save to keep the Coyotes in the lead.
In the 44th minute there was a lapse in the Owls’ back-line as David Michel played a nice through ball to Brett Schmidt to give Schmidt a 1 on 1 with the Citrus keeper Valverde. Schmidt rounded the ball around Valverde for his and the Coyotes’ second goal of the game.
The Coyotes kept pressure on the Owls the whole first half and their efforts were rewarded with two goals. They went into the break playing the better soccer.
The Coyotes went into half-time up 2-0 against the Owls.
The second half started no differently, the Coyotes kept the pressure on Owls’ ball handlers as soon as they received the ball. The Coyotes would swarm the Owls in numbers and limited the Owls touches in the final third.
The Owls finally were able to apply some pressure in the 50th minute with a solid spell of possession in the attacking third. No chances were created but this was a positive sign for an Owls team that has failed to put together many chances thus far.
The Owls started to apply pressure and you can see the Owls forwards working as a unit to suffocate the Coyotes midfield and try to win the ball back.
In the 52nd minute, Cuyamaca was shown their first yellow card as Mathew Butcher was booked for sliding with two feet up.
In the 57th minute, the Owls got on the board after a ball whipped into the box was punched out by the keeper came to Shusuke Kajiwara. Kajiwara chested the ball down nicely and volleyed the ball into the Coyotes net for the Owls first goal of the game and Kajiwara’s second goal of the campaign.
Minutes 60-80 were played mostly in the Citrus half with both teams struggling to keep the ball on the ground and struggled to get a string of passes together.
The Owls created the only chances late on as they tried to draw level.
In the 88th minute the Owls created a golden opportunity but Antonio Bernal could not put away the chance. Bernal was put through by Masaya Kawauchi. Bernal had a 1 on 1 with the Coyotes keeper but put the shot wide.
In the 90th minute, the Owls had a throw-in with one of the last attacks of the game. The throw bounced in the middle of the box and sat up perfectly for Silbestre Valencia who attempted a bicycle kick but was saved by the opposing keeper.
The game ended 2-1 with Cuyamaca grabbing their first victory. The Owls drop to 1-2.
Stats for the match against Cuyamaca are available online at citrusowls.com