The Wauwatosa East boys soccer team is wading its way through a difficult schedule and last week was a good example.
The Red Raiders dropped a 4-1 decision to Brookfield East on Aug. 28 and then lost a 2-0 match to Whitefish Bay two days later. Their overall record fell to 2-4-1.
Spotting any team one goal early in a match isn't good, but spotting a good team three goals in the first half will certainly spell disaster. That's what Tosa East allowed a veteran-laden Brookfield East soccer side to do in an important Greater Metro Conference matchup at Whitman Field.
The Spartans capitalized on a midfield error and turned it into a goal just 40 seconds into the game, when Jonathan Stone converted a one-on-one breakaway.
"That simply can't happen. It's almost embarrassing," Tosa East coach Eric Dake said. "You prepare to play a huge match and just like that you're playing uphill. Poor choice in the midfield and indecisiveness in the back was how they were able to jump on us from the opening whistle."
The Spartans next two goals came in the 22nd and 34th minutes.
First senior midfielder Ryan Toy was able to head a ball far post past East keeper Kyle Mabie on a beautiful cross from Matt Wilson.
Then it was Wilson again setting the table as he tossed a flip throw from the far sideline into the box where senior midfielder Jack Kemnitz one timed it in unmarked.
"Again, there was a complete lack of aggressiveness on our part in terms of marking on both goals," Dale said. "We had a defender on both the front and back side of Toy, but neither of our defenders went up with him. He finished strong while we were glued to the ground.
"The goal off the flip throw was a case where none of us were prepared to defend such a long throw. Their scorer was practically left wide open."
The Raiders were able to close the margin to 3-1 by halftime, as senior Landyn Mills was able to collect a poor clearance by the Spartans defense at the top of the 18 and drill a far post shot past Brookfield East keeper Drew Johnson.
"That was a great strike by Landyn and a nice answer by our team," Dale said, "but it can't come 35 minutes in after giving up three goals."
The only scoring in the second half occurred in the 60th minute when senior defenseman Josh Breider was able to collect a rebounded shot and place it past Mabie's left side.
"This game was definitely a step backward for our side," Dale said. "We've tried to instill a mind-set in the players of our program that in order to compete in the GMC with any team, you must be game ready at the start of the match or you'll be digging a hole."
"Our toughness must improve; and our willingness to challenge for 50/50 balls and balls in the air is truly suspect. But there's no time to dwell on mistakes for too long."
The Red Raiders traveled to Whitefish Bay to take on their third North Shore Conference opponent of the young season.
After putting up a good fight for nearly 70 minutes, the Raiders surrendered a goal in the 68th minute after a Bay cross was flicked on to a waiting striker who placed a good shot past East's interim goalkeeper, Ian Reid.
"Kyle Mabie broke his finger against Brookfield East, and Ian stepped in and played incredibly considering minimal experience in net. He appeared unshaken on many chances from Bay and I can't say enough about his willingness to step in and play such a difficult position. He was sharp and did some great things."
The Raiders played well against a very skilled Blue Dukes team and didn't back down from challenges against bigger and quicker players.
"I see Bay being a team that is still standing late into the tournament this year. They were the best team we've seen this season and we've played some good teams already."
The Raiders gave up a penalty kick goal in the 72nd minute and took a 2-0 loss.
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