The Tigers get their 2nd area victory with a 4-1 win over Sparkman High School on Tuesday night. The Tigers outshot the Senators 24 to 4 in a game that was close until the very end.
The Senators of Sparkman opted to drop back, and defend deeper in their own half. This made it easier for the Tigers keep possession and get into the middle 3rd but Sparkman's defensive organization in their own defensive 3rd made it difficult for the Tigers to generate as many consistent opportunities as they'd like. The first goal of the night came from Jorge's corner kick 10 minutes into the game. The initial corner was unsuccessful, but Trey Pinke pounced on a rebound that fell just inside the top of the box to put the Tigers up 1-0.
7 minutes later Josh Lowe looking to play a long ball from around midfield in behind the opponents defensive line. The ball falls just inside the penalty area to the head of a Senator defender who clear over the reach of his keeper and into the back of their own net. The Tiger accept to luck that has been given to them and jog back towards the half line after going up 2-0.
The senators stuck to their game plan and were rewarded for their hard work shortly after giving up the 2nd goal. The Tigers gain control of a long back in their own defensive third. This cues the Senators to leave their low pressure and press high. They then intercept a poor back pass intended for the Keeper and calmly tab in into the back of the net cutting the Tigers lead in have to make the score 2-1. Some would say this was against the flow of play. Most would agree that this changed the momentum of the game going into the half.
The teams hydrate, talk, and regroup during halftime. The challenge for the Tigers would be to penetrate the midfield line of the Senators which would allow them to create better chances more centrally instead of settling for the long ball or big cross while also defending the quick counter attack threat posed by Sparkman. The Tigers create some good opportunities that were unsuccessful and then it happened; A 13 pass build up where 8 different Tigers touched the ball end will a through pass from Alexei between the left and center back of Sparkman towards the left side of the penalty area. Jorge take a touch to set him up on his left foot and the rest is history. I'm not sure if the keeper even saw the ball before it hit the back of the Senators' net. Tigers 3, Sparkman 1 and you can feel the energy change in the stadium.
The Sparkman players continue to fight until the final whistle. As 2nd second half winds down they generate a really good chance that comes from a threw ball that puts their attacking player 1v1 against the Grissom keeper. Jacob Umbarger bounces quickly off of his line and makes an excellent from save just inside the box that forces a corner keep and stops the home team from scoring a second.
The Tigers seal the deal with their 4th and final goal with around 10 minutes left in the game. An array of central short passing in the middle 3rd eventually finds Kevin who plays a lovely penetrating through ball to Logan in the right half space. Logan check his should and plays a low cross across the six that zooms pass the reach of the outstretch keeper to Jackson Davis who get to the ball before the keeper and punches the ball into the back of the net to make it 4-1. Game. Set. Match.
The Tigers move to 2-1 in the area. Currently 3rd place (mainly due to the number of area games the other teams have played) with 3 games in hand.