First half dooms Cowboys soccer squad
The Monday, Aug. 29 opening match of the 2022 season did not come out the way that the Crook County High School boys soccer team had hoped as they fell 3-1 to Westside Christian.
Still, the match left room for optimism in the Crook County program. It was an intriguing matchup between coaching brothers Bryan and Jason Housley.
"It was just a fun game to have Westside Christian, where I started coaching, that is now coached by my brother, Jason, here to kick the 30th year of our soccer program off," Bryan said.
Both brothers played their high school soccer at Crook County, and both have gone on to be successful soccer coaches. Bryan, who is in his second year as the head coach of the Cowboys, began his coaching career at Westside Christian, which is now coached by his younger brother.
The two teams and coaches posed together for a group shot prior to the start of the match, before playing a hard-fought contest.
Westside Christian controlled the ball for much of the first half and jumped out to an early lead, scoring a goal less than five minutes in, on a shot that was lobbed over the outstretched hands of Crook County's goal keeper. The Eagles, who are located in Tigard, scored a second goal midway through the first half. Westside Christian made the score 3-0 with just over nine minutes remaining in the first half on another goal that was lofted over the goalkeeper's hands. This one on a beautiful shot from nearly 30 meters out.
Halftime was a turning point in the match. The Cowboys made some adjustments, and moved a couple of players to new positions.
"I did a lot of discovery and positioning and finding a lot of guys that can play positions that I wasn't originally thinking about just because they were verbal about where they wanted to play and we were in a circumstance where I was open to trying some of those things," coach Housley said following the match. "We made a few little tweaks and changes here and there, but that's not necessarily the difference. The difference was installing some hope and some encouragement and heart into the team."
Whatever happened, the second half was a totally different ballgame with Crook County dominating time of possession and controlling play. The Cowboys had numerous second-half scoring opportunities, but were thwarted by sterling goal keeping by Eagle goalkeeper Jake Mills.
Crook County finally scored with 15:29 remaining in the second half on a goal by junior Adam Ortiz.
"It just took us some time finding a rhythm," Housley said. "We still had a few breakdowns here and there, but we did a lot of lineup and movement. We still have got to fine-tune it, but that's more in the right direction. The in and out ball and hitting the long ball a little bit every now and then and running helped us."
Housely added that the Cowboys have some speed on the outside, but that they may have run those players too much early in the contest as they became fatigued late in the match.
Still, Crook County dominated the second half, making the match interesting until the end.
The Cowboys do not play again until Thursday, Sept. 8, when they go on the road to take on the Sisters Outlaws in a 4 p.m. match. The team returns home on Saturday, Sept. 10 when they take on North Bend in a 1 p.m. match.
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