The Hays Rebels battled it out with the Leander Lions, but fell short towards the end of the second half as they fell 3-1.
The Rebels are now 0-3-1 in district with the Lions improving to 2-1. Hays started the half a bit unorganized, and it showed when the Lions got their first shot off in the second minute of the game.
Leander’s aggressive offense paid off when they tallied an early goal in the sixth minute of the game. Leander went down the right side of the field and slowly took it into the box. The ball was crossed in and the Rebel defense was a second too late when Lion Angel Ruiz shot the ball in the back of the net.
The Lions were taking the ball down the sideline and trying to work the ball into the middle to get a shot off. However, the Rebels quickly caught on to their strategy and shut down movement in the middle of the field.
Leander scored a second goal off of a corner kick with roughly a minute left in the first half.
Lion Luis Montes crossed the ball into the box and Reid Jimenez headed the ball in for another goal to end the half up 2-0.
Rebels head coach Jason Burnett said his team knew what their focus was in this game and tried to execute it against the Lions.
“We wanted to possess the ball, move the ball around the field,” Burnett said. “We have struggled a little with building the ball out of the back and kind of moving it around switching it up, so that was our focus.”
Coming out of halftime, the Rebels earned a goal within the first minute. Aided by an assist from Sergio Palizada, Rebel captain Gerardo Rodriguez got a quick touch pass and earned a goal.
The Rebels came out stronger on the offensive end in the second half and shot the ball more on goal.
But Leander put the game away with a goal scored as a result of a Rebel miscue.
A handball call against Hays earned Leander a free kick at the top of the 18-yard box.
Ruiz shot it over the Rebel wall and put it into the back of the net for the game’s final goal.
Having dropped a second straight game, Rodriguez said falling to Leander was disappointing.
“We should have won, we need to communicate more and move the ball around,” Rodriguez said. “We need to pick up the team and to score more. I always tell them before a game to just come out with everything we have.”
Burnett said no matter the score, his team executed the way they wanted to.
“I told the boys that they did a great job at moving the ball around,” Burnett said. “I said people will look at the box score and that’s not indicative of the game. You controlled the ball, you moved it around and it looked really good.”