With a scoreline of 4-1, you would need more than two hands to count the amount of times the Owls back line was carved open, in the first half alone.
LA Mission came into Citrus Stadium for the Owls first Western State Conference game of the season with one game plan in mind, pressure the ball until the Owls cough it up, which never took long.
The Owls were at a constant struggle for a majority of the game to hold on to the ball. In the first half, the Owls failed to string together more than five passes at a time at any given period.
The LA Mission Eagles looked quicker, stronger, and hungrier than the Owls who looked bereft of confidence throughout the match.
With the exception of their game against San Diego Mesa on Aug. 30 in which the Owls bagged 5 goals, the Owls offense has failed to create much, scoring just 3 goals in the other three matches.
In the game against LA Mission, it was apparent that a lack of movement caused some trouble for the Owls frontline.
The inability to create space or the willingness to run behind the defense proved to be costly.
If you look deeper in to the problems of the Owls offense, the midfield was getting harassed all match long.
Back passes were the most consistent part of the Owls offense when they had possession. The inability to link the back line to midfield was really apparent and often led to booming kicks by goalkeeper Cesar Valverde.
The Eagles got their goals with quite ease. A simple through ball straight through the last line of defense to force multiple one on ones doomed the Citrus back four.
“There was no communication,” captain and central defender Silbestre Valencia said, “it wasn’t a team effort, we need to compete and no one was competing.”
The only communication going on between the back line was frustration after each and every goal.
The Eagles forward that benefited the most out of the lapse in the Owls defense was Marlon Chavarria by scoring 2 goals.
Chavarria got the Eagles off to a great start in the 7th minute when Eduardo Silva put him through for a one on one with Valverde.
Chavarria also ended the rout when he converted a penalty in the 81st minute.
“It was exciting to get my first two goals of the season,” Chavarria said, “we pinched their defense and exploited the width they gave us.”
The Citrus defense was “pinched” a number of times throughout the first half as the Eagles had pin-point passes to the wings after sucking in the Owls defense.
Head coach of the Eagles Julio Castillo said, “it’s always hard to come to Citrus and win, they always play hard.”
Castillo was pleased with the amount of pressing his team did, especially in the first half.
“We were solid defensively and we never really broke down,” Castillo said, “we pressed with numbers and it paid off.”
Owls head coach Fred Bruce-Oliver was disappointed with the amount of aggression his team showed.
“We were not aggressive enough and we got tired very easily,” Bruce-Oliver said, “we had no fight.”
The Owls fall to 1-4 on the season and are on a three game losing streak.
Citrus will be on the road for their next two games taking on conference opponents Oxnard (Sept. 20) and Moorpark (Sept. 27.)
The Owls will return home on Oct. 1 to host conference opponent Canyons at 2 p.m. Admission is free.