The Canton Bears Varsity Soccer team lost to both Ogdensburg (2-1) and Malone (1-0). The Bears simply cannot find the back of the net, putting up over 10 shots and outshooting the opposition in both games.
The Bears played Ogdensburg Friday, and they played hard. Canton moved the ball to their forwards and attacked by getting to the outside and putting the ball in by sliding it to the striker waiting on the PK line. Offensive chances sprouted from counter attacks as well, as goaltender Hayden Todd used his powerful punt to quickly change the direction of the play. The Bears offense saw more than their fair share of scoring chances, but not one goal in the first half.
On the defensive side of the ball, only one uncontested shot was allowed, and an Ogdensburg goal resulted from it. The Bears’ defense continues to play unbelievable and keep games close even with the lack of numbers on the scoreboard.
The Bears looked for anyone to rally and score after another uncontested shot in the second half gave the Blue Devils a 2-0 lead. Nate Romano scored the Bears’ first goal of the second half of their season, on a pass from Jack Kerrigan. Romano had a big weekend, as he narrowly missed giving the Bears a lead in the second game and played positionally sound the whole weekend. The Bears still needed another to send the game into overtime. Chance after chance was stopped, and the clock wore down. With around three minutes left the Bears seemed to be pinned in their own end, and OFA strikers did all they could to waste time.
Eventually, the Bears progressed upfield, and with less than 20 seconds left Tanner Hazelton came as close to scoring as the Bears could hope. A jump from the Ogdensburg goalie left Canton stunned as he punched the ball over the crossbar and out of play. The lack of time on the clock made it impossible to take a corner and the game ended in a 2-1 loss.
Malone was much of the same story for the Bears, except they had complete control of the game, but miraculously not of the ball entering the net. The Bears offense continued to struggle, with either a kick at the goalie or the post or an 8 touch in the box that the defenders would gobble up. Canton tried and failed to create a goal on the short field in Malone off corners, not due to lack of effort but rather lack of execution.
The Bears showed signs of growth in possessing the ball, and controlled the game by time of possession. The Bears managed to incorporate their first changes of the side they attacked, and had more east-west ball movement. Canton utilized back passes better than usual, and this, in turn, helped them possess the ball like a good soccer team should. Due to the small field, offensive zone throw-ins were similar to corner kicks. The Bears made the ball go in all the right places, excluding the back of the net.
The Canton defense was excellent, as per usual, and the game remained 0-0 for both halves and the better part of overtime. The one and only goal was scored off a corner kick that was jostled around in the Bears defensive 18 yard box, and fell to a Malone foot who promptly redirected it in the net.
The Bears play Tuesday away against Gouverneur.
Photos come courtesy of Shelly Pike.