If a crossbar and post couldn’t keep the Catonsville offense from keeping the pressure on visiting Kenwood in the first half, a driving rain in the second half couldn’t slow down the Comet kickers, who are on a mission to get back to the Baltimore County championship game for the third year in a row.
The Comets, who won the county title in 2011 and lost to Perry Hall last year, took another step closer to representing Division II in the county championship with a 2-0 victory over Kenwood on Wednesday night.
Catonsville (6-3-2) is 4-0-1 in divisional play, trailing Hereford, which is 4-0.
Hereford hosts Pikesville on Monday, Oct. 14, and the Comets for the top spot on Tuesday, Oct. 15.
The Comets looked as though they were going to run away from Kenwood (4-6-1, 2-3) when they got three golden scoring chances in the first minute of play.
But shots by Sam Khan and Jordan Llorin were saved and Dillon Hannah’s hit the crossbar.
It was the first of five shots that hit off the crossbar for Catonsville, and the Comets had two more carom off the post.
“We play a lot of balls to the corners because we don’t have the skill to go through the middle, but they are playing it well,” Catonsville coach Vic Vega said. “They are sticking to it and they are creating opportunities.”
Hannah hit another ball off the crossbar after a cross by Jake Parrott was flicked to him by Llorin just under six minutes into the contest.
Less than a minute later, Llorin hit the post and Daniel Kim scored, but he was ruled offside.
Finally, with 4:49 left in the first half, Parrott, scored an unassisted goal with a defender hanging on his jersey.
Catonsville dominated the 50/50 balls in the second half and created numerous scoring chances through throw-ins by Will Johnson and corner kicks from Kim.
Khan hit a post and Kenwood goalie Russell Boyer made a tough leg save on a shot by Kim from 40 yards out.
The Bluebirds first shot on goal came with just under 18 minutes left in the second half. Billy Mudimba led Harman Kimani, and he took a shot that was stopped by diving Comet goalie AJ Beck, who came off his line to cut off the angle.
“He made a great play, especially on that kid, because he has some skills up there,” Vega said.
Three minutes later, defender Shay Gregory blasted a shot from 45 yards out that was saved by a well-timed leap from Boyer, who deflected it over the cage.
That set up Kim for another corner kick, and he curled it into the back of the goal for a 2-0 lead with 14:23 remaining.
“I hit one earlier in the season against Towson and it was low and it curved in,” Kim said. “Coach told me, ‘you got the curve so you can just curve it in.’ ”
“We stack the line and I said, ‘just try it on your own sometime,’ ” Vega said.
Catonsville’s stellar defense, which was led by Johnson, Gregory, Liam Llorin and Gabe Miller, was stressed only one other time in the second half after a foul. But a free kick from Jhonny Cedillo was saved after a short hop by Beck.
“They are playing great defense and they are playing game-plan offense,” Vega said. “We moved the ball pretty quick. We usually knock the ball around fairly well, but I thought we moved it quicker than usual.
Catonsville is also getting solid midfield play and from the starters and the bench.
“That’s what has been getting better for us, the bench, because early in the year our bench wasn’t deep,” Vega said.
The Comets are going to need that to continue at Hereford.
“It’s a big game for us,” Kim said.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun