Leesburg, Va. — When the final whistle of overtime was blown, the Loudoun County and Park View High School boys soccer teams walked off the field in a 1-1 draw. Despite not adding a tally to the win column, both the Captains and Patriots were pleased with the result in the first Dulles District match on April 17 in Leesburg.
“We knew Park View would be one of our main competitors this year,” Loudoun County head coach Chris Mazzatenta said. “We haven’t beaten them in at least three years, so a draw is an improvement.”
Having settled in defensively, the Captains needed to turn the field if they wanted a chance to score and earned a foul from about 27 yards out midway through the first half. Loudoun County senior defender Wyatt Simmons sent a well-struck free kick on goal, and the shot bounced off the Park View keeper, before senior forward Alex Ahedo cleaned up the rebound with a chip shot over the sliding keeper to put the Captains up 1-0.
“Scoring the first goal against a good team like Park View always makes you feel better,” Mazzatenta said. “We’re thin on our team in terms of depth and couldn’t get some starters on today, so hopefully if we play them again, we’ll be at full strength and have a better result.”
For the most part, Park View controlled possession in the first half, but the Patriots didn’t really get a good shot attempt off until under two minutes when senior defender Zachary Trujillo crossed a ball over the middle to sophomore midfielder Daniel Hernandez, but the Loudoun County keeper made a nice save to preserve the 1-0 lead at the half.
“We were down 1-0 at the half, playing against a good team, so we just had to keep working hard,” Park View head coach Aaron Hoxworth said. “I’m a big believer that if you work hard good things will happen. If we kept working hard and believing in ourselves, we knew a goal would come at some point.”
Park View came out of the half looking to score, but unlike in the first half, Loudoun County started to apply some additional offensive pressure while controlling possession. That didn’t stop the Patriots from taking their chances as junior forward Randy Mendoza took a chance on a turn and shoot early in the second half, but the County keeper made a nice sliding save to keep his team up 1-0.
The Patriots had another real chance with 11 minutes left in regulation when junior forward Frank Portillo-Sorto got a step on his man down the left side and took a low shot across the net which missed wide right.
“For the most part, our defense has been pretty sound all year,” Mazzatenta said. “We’ve had four shutouts, but we had the tendency to make one mistake in a game, and it’s come back to haunt us. Hopefully, we’ll clean that up as the season goes on.”
Having played brilliantly for more than 70 minutes, the Captains finally had a defensive lapse late in the second half as the Patriots got the answer they were looking for. Park View sent a corner kick long, but it was collected and sent back across the net where Mendoza lofted a shot over the keeper and into the top of the net to tie the game up at 1-1.
“We had spring break then didn’t have a game scheduled the week after spring break, so we haven’t had a competitive match in two weeks,” Hoxworth said. “We were just trying to keep the guys focused tonight and get back into the game day routine, and it finally paid off.”
Despite controlling possession for much of the second half, the Captains only had a few good looks at the net, including a chance to win it with three minutes to play when senior forward Almas Telek put a shot on goal that was corralled by the Park View keeper.
Portillo-Sorto tried to give the Patriots the lead one last time in regulation when he slipped past his defender and fired a shot on goal that was once again knocked away by the County keeper.
Park View did all they could through overtime to find the game winner, but like they had done throughout regulation, the Loudoun County defense squashed threat after threat to force a draw in their district opener.
Loudoun County (0-0-1, 6-1-1) gets a week to prepare for Broad Run when they’ll travel to Ashburn on April 24 in hopes of earning their first Dulles District win of the season. The turnaround for Park View (0-0-1, 4-1-2) is much quicker as the Patriots host Heritage on April 20.
“Now, it’s district play, so it’s going to be a crazy eight games before the end of the season,” Hoxworth said. “We just want to keep working hard. What’s happened in the past doesn’t matter, so we just have to look forward to the next game.”