Every team practices penalty kicks throughout the season with the goal of finding one player consistent enough to be trusted at any moment. For Wilde Lake boys soccer, that guy is junior Tyriq Umrani.
He’s not the Wildecats’ best player or their top scoring threat. In fact, he hadn’t scored a goal all season long — until Saturday night.
Umrani left no doubts, as he powered his right-footed penalty shot into the upper-right corner of the goal for the game-winning tally three minutes into double overtime to send Wilde Lake to the 3A state semifinals with a 2-1 win against Huntingtown in Columbia.
“What more can I ask for? It’s just incredible,” Umrani said.
Wildecats coach Trevor Shea said “it was definitely Tyriq the whole time,” and that he never even considered anyone else to take the most important shot the program has had since 1998, the last year they played in a state semifinal game.
They will face No. 8 seed Mt. Hebron, which defeated top-seeded J.M. Bennett on the road Friday, at Linganore High School on Nov. 8 or 9.
“We’ve gone through two other people that we trusted — and they have other things that they do well — but Tyriq has stepped up and that’s been his specialty,” Shea said.
The referees ruled that Hurricanes senior Charlie Sadler fouled Wilde Lake junior Ousman Touray in the box after a bouncing ball off a corner kick. Huntingtown coach Charlie Russell did not agree with the call.
“I think it’s unfortunate that a call like that, especially seeing the replay (on Twitter) was so terrible in a game like this,” he said. “Both teams played hard, and it’s unfortunate that it comes down to a call in overtime on a foul that’s not a foul.”
The Hurricanes, No. 5 seed, controlled the game through 40 minutes and were awarded with a goal in the 33rd minute. Andrew Schug got behind the Wilde Lake back line and beat another defender before putting a low shot into the far-left corner for the game’s first tally.
It was a frustrating first half for No. 4 seed Wilde Lake. Touray, the Wildecats’ and Howard County’s leading goal scorer, was shut off and denied any chances behind the Hurricanes’ last defenders. The visiting team allowed few long throws and even fewer counter attack opportunities.
“They definitely knew who Ousman was,” Shea said. “Somebody had talked to them and let them know some things. But you get this far in the season that’s going to happen, you know, and we just had to make adjustments.”
Fortunately for Wilde Lake (13-3-1), its lone goal in regulation came in classic Wilde Lake fashion. A counter attack created a two-on-two, and at midfield sophomore Joebel Gray flicked the ball over the top. Touray did the rest, poking a long ball forward and outracing a defender to it before finishing his left-footed shot to tie the game in the 44th minute. It’s his 19th goal of the season but first in the last five games.
Shea said one of the adjustment at the intermission was to allow Gray more freedom to roam the midfield to create a chance just like the one they got.
“We basically gave Joebel free rein to go where he wanted. The biggest idea with us was top have him near Ousman,” Shea said. “... With Joebel and Ousman on a two-on-two, I’ll take them pretty much over anyone that we’re playing.”
Huntingtown goalkeeper Stafford Allison (10 saves) kept the visitors in the game with several key stops in the second half. None was bigger than one he made on a bouncing ball in the 59th minute, when he quickly reacted and punched a ball off the line with his left hand. Wilde Lake goalkeeper Gabrial Viteri was just as stellar and finished with 13 saves.
Regulation gave way to the first 10-minute overtime and eventually a second, and Umrani sparked a celebration 21 years in the making with a strike in the 93rd minute.
“This has been program building,” Shea said, “and to have the girls going as well, it’s really set the expectations.”
Wilde Lake beat Mt. Hebron, 1-0, on Oct. 10. The Vikings have won six straight games since that loss.