Top-ranked McDonogh boys soccer spent much of Monday afternoon working the ball around its offensive third of the field, trying to breakdown the defenders for No. 11 Broadneck.
The Eagles were playing their third game in four days, and they came away frustrated numerous times against the physical Bruins. In the end, a goal by Connor Smith midway through the first half proved to be the difference as McDonogh came away with a 1-0 victory.
"As tired as we were physically and as tired as we were mentally, we still did some really good things," McDonogh coach Steve Nichols said. "We just made poor decisions at poor times. We just did not put enough on frame for all of the chances we had. They did a great job and they're very well organized. They're well coached and they managed to block a lot of shots."
The Eagles (3-0) dominated possession throughout most of the game and narrowly missed several chances in the opening minutes. Broadneck tried to win the game in the midfield, rather than sit back and rely on counter-attacks, and this kept McDonogh from moving all of its players forward.
Smith dictated play by dribbling through the center field or pushing passes wide to set up a cross. He provided the lead when he took a short pass from Piroz Bahar and fired a low shot that found the far corner.
"We were just too slow and being complacent," said Smith, who has committed to Maryland. "We gave away some easy passes and we had some tired legs. I think on the attacking end we were keeping the ball, getting through to goal. We just need to work on our finishing. Defensively, we've been really solid."
Broadneck goalie Stephen Belt anchored the defense and finished with seven saves. He credited his defense for helping slow down McDonogh's high-powered attack.
"It was really high pressure," Belt said. "They spread us pretty wide. Our defense did pretty well keeping the ball out of the box. I really owe it to all of our backs."
After losing 2-1 to No. 9 Curley on Saturday, the Bruins (0-2) dropped their second close game against a team ranked in the top 10 of The Baltimore Sun poll. The tough competition should bode well for them heading into Anne Arundel conference play.
"Ideally, I would have liked to done more with our attack," Broadneck coach Sean Tettemer said. "I thought we battled and competed and we played really hard the whole game. It was a positive experience for us. I give McDonogh all the credit in the world. I think they're a phenomenal team."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun