Blue Goose hits the road for four straight after narrow loss

GOOSE ATTACK: Juri Schlingmann passed to Gerardo Martinez but like the other Shreveport Blue Goose threats last Saturday, this didn’t pan out, sailing  just over the crossbar. 

By DAVID ERSOFF, Journal Sports

The local Blue Goose soccer club is going to be sweating out gas prices for the next two weeks, beginning a series of four road games Wednesday in Baton Rouge on the heels of a tough shutout loss at home on Saturday.

Blue Goose will travel down I-49 on the way to meet LA Parish Saturday in the state’s capitol city. LA Parish will be the next team to visit Shreveport, coming in for a Tuesday, June 28 contest against Blue Goose at Centenary College.

Last Saturday, one of the hottest days of the year, Blue Goose lost a close game with perennial powerhouse Mississippi Brilla, 1-0 at Centenary. Brilla scored early and were able to hold off Blue Goose for the victory.

At the opening whistle, Brilla was on the attack, employing a high press at every level of play. They pushed the ball forward every time they had possession and when Blue Goose had the ball, they challenged every player and pass. This style of play proved effective, with two early shots on goal, forcing keeper Brett Ekperouh to come up big early.

In the 12th minute, Brilla’s third attempt at goal was successful, but not by design. It began with a shot from the right wing that went off the crossbar, then landed at the feet of Brilla left winger Remi Emetiau, who had a wide net to score the only goal of the night.

The rest of the first half saw the play even out, with Blue Goose fruitlessly taking control at times. Brilla’s high press was unsustainable after the first 15 minutes, as the heat and humidity started taking its toll. Midway through the half, Blue Goose winger Nicolas TheBerge took the ball into Brilla’s box, and was surrounded by three defenders and went down to the ground. Local supporters and the Blue Goose bench screamed for a penalty kick, but the referee waved it off and awarded a corner kick as the ball went out the back line. The ensuing corner kick was a beauty that was headed just wide of the goal.

It seemed just a matter of time when the contest would be tied. In extra time of the opening half, outside back Gerardo Martinez  streaked down the left side of the field, looked up and saw the Brilla keeper off his line. At this sight and with time down to seconds, Martinez took a left-footed shot from just outside the box, but the ball went just over the crossbar.

The second half started just as the game began, with Brilla pressing hard again. This time that form of play only lasted a few minutes and resulted in just one serious threat at goal, with Ekepouh coming up big with the save, deflecting it wide. As in the first half, once Brilla pulled off its press, Blue Goose took much of the possession and opportunities. These early second half chances did not result in any good shots on frame.

As time was winding down, Blue Goose’s sense of urgency stepped up, and the chances grew more dangerous. With less than five  minutes remaining, the ball ended up at the feet of Blue Goose winger Johan Arevalo, who took a close shot that seemed destined to tie the game, Brilla keeper Chris Morrison dove and made a strong save to preserve his clean sheet.

“This is the type of game I expected, with both teams fighting for opportunities,” Blue Goose coach Will Awagu said. “I am pleased with the effort, and felt good about it overall, but really felt we deserved a tie. This is the one the strongest teams in our league, and we held up well.”

Photo by DAVID CHESAK