By Ernest Stone
Orchestrating a successful attack in soccer requires lightning-fast decisions, well-executed passing and skillful finishing.
Head-Royce of Oakland (1-1) was a prime example of such execution on Wednesday, defeating University 3-1 in a non-league game at Kezar Stadium.
The Red Devils (2-3-2) surrendered the first goal, when junior Jamie Waldear finished on a setup from teammate Ryan Madden, who would later leave the game with an injury.
“Injuries played a crucial part in the identity of our team throughout the match,” said Head-Royce head coach Rick Redfield. “We let up a little after a few of the guys went down.”
While Redfield’s assertions may be true, the Jayhawks would need only the first half to put the game away, as neither team scored in the second half.
After a Wyatt Kim goal in the 15th minute tied the game for University, the early surge from Head-Royce seemed cooled down.
“I do my best as a freshman to help out the team,” Kim said. “It felt great to score and I obviously hope that I can do that more often.”
The Jayhawks rebounded quickly, however, largely due to the play of San Jose Earthquakes junior-leaguer and Jayhawks sophomore Travis Pillon, whose speed proved to be lethal in shredding the Red Devils’ defense.
With Pillon leading the attack, the Jayhawks struck twice more in the next twenty minutes.
The first of the goals came when Connor Scherer found teammate Pablo Cuadros for the score in the 24th minute.
Then, after a clinical display of selflessness and skill, Pillon got in on the action and added another goal himself.
“The balls they played seemed to have that extra touch,” said University head coach Deejae Johnson. “Once we learned how to deal with the wind, I thought our guys did a much better job.”
University appears to be talented enough to compete with high level competition, yet the team must learn to play all 80 minutes, a problem that has resulted in a its relatively slow start this season.
As for Head-Royce, the team looks in midseason form after just two games.
“A lot of teams have a hard time executing, playing two touch foot ball,” said Jayhawks assistant coach Pedro Rico. “I think we are one of the teams that will be able to do that this year.”
HR — 4th minute: Jamie Waldear
U — 15th minute: Wyatt Kim
HR — 24th minute: Pablo Cuadros
HR — 33rd minute: Travis Pillon