It had been almost two weeks since the A&M Consolidated boys soccer team took the field in any capacity due to COVID-19 related issues, but the Tigers managed to out-chance crosstown rival College Station in a 0-0 draw on Tuesday in District 19-5A play at Tigerland Stadium.
Monday was the first day the Tigers (0-4-3, 0-0-1) were able to return to practice, but they controlled play much of the night despite any rust. Consol sent 13 shots toward the Cougar net with seven on frame. College Station senior goalkeeper Daniel Gildin made seven saves, including five in the second half.
“This was the first game of [district play], so I would love to have all three points, but in the grand scheme of things a draw isn’t too bad,” Consol head coach Jarrod Southern said.
Both squads remained rigid in their formations through most of the first half, allowing few real chances in either penalty box. Restarts off fouls proved to be the most dangerous for the Tigers, including an early service into the 6-yard box by sophomore Bryce Marianno. The inswinging free kick fell onto the inside of Sutton Lake’s right foot for a volley, but the forward lifted the shot slightly too high, and it bounced off and over the crossbar.
College Station senior Daniel Corado had his chance at a volley attempt as the first half drew to a close off a service from the right side. In similar fashion, the streaking senior placed the chance off the top of the crossbar and over to end the threat.
“We’re really close working the ball up,” College Station High School head coach Chad Peevey said. “We’ve just really got to figure out a way to finish in front of the goal, because we had our chances and put one off the bar right in front of the goal and a couple right there to the keeper. We’ll continue to grow and get better, and we’ll make it happen next time.”
As both teams found their legs after halftime, play opened up more in the attacking thirds. The Cougars (3-2-6, 1-0-2) posted the first chance of the second half when senior Asaph Pineda poked a low cross from Arthur Proenca toward the goal from inside the 6-yard box. Tiger goalkeeper Conner Guerrieri came off his line and swatted the ball off Pineda’s foot.
As the second half wore on, Consol worked the ball into the offensive side and looked to draw fouls that set up free kick opportunities. College Station committed 15 fouls, including eight in the second half.
Restarts offered Consol its best chance for offense after netting just two goals in its first five games.
“Scoring has been an issue, and tonight we had a good couple of chances to score,” Southern said. “We hit the crossbar. They had a good goalkeeper, but we didn’t make him work too much. Most of our shots were at him or wide.”
Consol’s best chance of the second half came on a one-bounce volley by Marianno in the middle of the penalty box that forced Gildin to make a diving save to his right.
“I can’t say enough about Daniel,” Peevey said. “He’s a stud back there. Every time we go into a game right now, we know he’s our safety blanket back there, and we put a lot of trust in him.”
College Station tried a few counter attacks, including on a through ball that led sophomore Michael Puragson on a breakaway into the penalty box. His shot, however, bent too far to the left and sailed wide of the goal.
College Station finished the game with 10 total shots including three on goal. Guerrieri made three saves to earn the shutout.
With the team’s fitness proven stable Tuesday after the long break, Southern said he hopes the Tigers can begin converting offensive chances in the games to come.
“Hopefully we just get the balls in the net,” Southern said. “That’s been our Achilles heel the whole preseason. Dominating in possession, dominating in chances, but that doesn’t mean anything. It’s the scoreline at the end of the game.”
NOTES — College Station won the JV match 5-3.