Boys’ soccer outplays Homestead

Daniel Garepis-Holland and Sophia Yang

In a strong performance with many scoring opportunities, the Palo Alto High School boys’ soccer team (2-2-3) defeated the Homestead Mustangs (2-4), 2-1, Friday at home.

Going into the game, both teams were equal on points in the standings, making it an important match for both sides. 

“We knew it was going to be a tough game for us because they [Homestead] played a couple of our opponents and they beat them,” junior forward Josh Ramos said. “I mean they were good, but I guess we just played better tonight.”

Senior midfielder and captain Jaron Majors outmaneuvers a Homestead player in the middle of the park during the Vikings’ 2-1 win over the Mustangs on Friday. The Vikings were able to create lots of chances and were solid defensively. “I was very happy with the win, we all put in an effort and had great team cohesiveness,” said junior midfielder Rhys Foote. (Photo: Daniel Garepis-Holland)

The Vikings started off strong, with senior midfielder Noah Adesnik scoring an early goal six minutes into the match. The goal opening was created by Ramos running at the defense just outside the box and creating havoc, allowing Adesnik to get past the defenders.

Minutes after, senior forward Jaron Majors scored another goal for the Vikings following an excellent pass from junior midfielder Rhys Foote. Majors felt the team played extremely well offensively throughout the match.

“I feel like that was the best offensive performance we had this season, we played calm and played well on the ball,” Majors said. “We just outplayed them.”

After the Vikings’ bright start, Homestead began to grow into the game, gaining their first real opportunity to score in the 18th minute after a dangerous corner kick was headed towards goal, though it flew just wide of the post.

The Mustangs got a goal back at the 25th-minute mark after the Viking goalkeeper Isaac Kirby failed to claim a cross, allowing Homestead’s forward to score. Viking coach Rusty Millard felt that the Mustangs’ goal was unexpected.

“The goal probably was against the run of play — we were actually playing well at that point,” Millard said. 

The second half of the game mainly consisted of continuous back and forth play between the two teams with neither side gaining extended spells of possession or strings of chances.

Just after halftime, Ramos had an opportunity to score, but the chance was smothered by the Mustangs’ goalkeeper. Five minutes later, the Vikings wanted a penalty after a foul near the edge of the penalty box, but the referee only awarded a free-kick, which was shot just wide by Adesnik.

The Vikings’ best chance in the second half came after junior midfielder Nadav Sternheim failed to convert a one-on-one opportunity with the goalkeeper after being played in behind by Ramos.

Despite the Vikings’ strong defense, the Mustangs created some opportunities of their own, especially through their attacking midfielder, who impressed with his skills on the ball. 

Mustang midfielder and captain Vikram Penumarti was pleased with how many chances the team created, despite their loss.

“We fought hard and we got a lot of opportunities,” Penumarti said. 

The Vikings were able to hold on to their one-goal lead for the rest of the match, which ultimately ended 2-1. Millard was impressed with the team’s concentration and consistency throughout the game.

“With a 2-1 lead and 40 minutes to play, for the boys to hold on and see that through says a lot about their character,” Millard said. 

Viking senior defender and captain Sebastian Bonnard was impressed with the team’s performance as well.

“Today our team was really solid, it was a close scoreline but the defense was immense, and offensively we created a lot of chances,” Bonnard said. 

In spite of their loss last night and their position in sixth place in the DeAnza division, Homestead captain Penumarti still believes the team can secure a spot in CCS. 

“We have a lot of games ahead of us,” Penumarti said. We have good potential, and I think we’re definitely going to get some more wins and get up into that top three for [a spot in] CCS.”

The Vikings are also hoping to move up in the standings. “Obviously we’d like to win out — the DeAnza League is a very open playing field,” Bonnard said. “We’ll take it game by game and you know that there are a lot of good teams.”

The Vikings’ next league game is against Mountain View at 6 p.m. next Friday away from home, though they play Lynbrook on Monday at 7 p.m. at home in a non-league game.