The Meadowdale Mavericks boys soccer home opener didn’t go quite as planned. Tristan Springer scored a goal off a Taylor Linton throw-in in the 37th minute that gave Meadowdale a 1-0 lead, but in the second half, the Garfield Bulldogs dominated play and eventually tied the game up on a penalty kick by Abdi Abdulahi in the 64th minute.
The PK was set up by a through ball to Finn Hill-Ramier, who got into the box before having his legs swept out from under him by Alec Norton. Abdulahi buried the subsequent shot in the left corner past Mark Steinke and the game ended 1-1.
The Bulldogs had the first chance of the game in the 5th minute when Joseph Hurley sent in a low cross that got cleared. Three minutes later, Austin Panek got to the top of the goal box and fired off a shot that glanced off of a defender and out for a corner kick. Stewart Sullivan sent the ball in and Panek got a header on the ball; unfortunately, it went off the post and then was cleared.
The Bulldogs came back using their speed. While Meadowdale could generally win the one-on-one physical battles, they were no match for Garfield’s speed, which became apparent in the 14th minute. Abdulahi got past the defense on the left side and got into the box before sending a low cross to Casey Haber. He tried a one-timer that went up and over the crossbar harmlessly.
Panek had another great chance in the 19th minute when Steinke hit a drop-kick so far that it bounced over the defense and onto Panek’s feet. Panek dribbled into the box but shot it straight into goalkeeper Cameron Hazzard and the ball bounced away. In the 23rd minute, Linton took a 50 yard free kick that floated towards the top-left corner of the goal, but Hazzard snatched it out of the air. Finally, in the 37th minute, the Mavericks broke through. After earning a throw-in near the box, Linton came up from his defending position to take the throw-in. He sent the ball into the box that got over a few defenders’ heads and to Springer. He made no mistake and buried a shot past Hazzard to give the Mavs a 1-0 lead.
The Bulldogs tried to tie the game up in the 39th minute when Abdulahi had a corner kick, but Fasil Alexander mis-hit the ball high. The game went into halftime with the Mavs holding a 1-0 advantage.
Meadowdale dominated possession in the first half, but come second half, started to look tired. The Bulldogs were able to stretch the defense and make them hustle. Nine of eleven Maverick starters played the entire game, and it showed the second half. In the 44th minute, Sasha Gomberg took a 40 yard free kick short to Gabe Barret-Jackson, and he sent in a dangerous cross to the box.
However, there was a player offsides, and the chance was neutralized. Two minutes later, Haber took a shot from 18 yards out that went straight to Steinke. Then Haber had another great chance when he received a cross from Aweso Muhina, but Haber hit a low shot that Steinke punched out. The ensuing corner kick by Isaac Lessig went over everyone’s head and out of bounds.
It was at this point where the Bulldogs got called for offsides five or six times in a row; they just could not control their runs. But they were getting closer and closer to beating Meadowdale’s line. In the 61st minute, Abdulahi was sprung on a slight breakaway down the sidelines before he sent a cross into the box. Hill-Ramier got a foot on it but hit the shot wide. After another offsides play, the Bulldogs tied it up.
The Meadowdale defense had just cleared the ball back when Garfield tried another through ball. This time, Hill-Ramier stayed onsides and got to the ball first. He got in to the box on a breakaway before Norton came from behind to take him out. Abdulahi took the resulting penalty kick and fired a rocket into the left side of the net. The game was tied 1-1 in the 64th minute after the goal.
The Mavs almost re-took the lead when Sullivan had another corner kick. This one went out of bounds instead of curving into the box though. Then in the 75th minute, Abdulahi dribbled out of the corner and into the box. He got a little separation from the defense and fired a low shot that was blocked. A scramble for the ball started and the Meadowdale defense managed to win it and clear the ball away. Time ran out before either side got another chance and the sides finished in a 1-1 draw.
The Mavericks play their first Wesco League game next Tuesday at home (Lynnwood High School) versus Shorecrest at 7:30 p.m.
— By Quint Turner