McDonogh's Brian Yi took a licking but kept on kicking in yesterday's 3-2 victory over Washington-area boys soccer power Gonzaga.
Although heavily guarded by David Alvarado, Joe McDonald and Chris Baer, who dictated a physical pace and occasionally leveled the two-time All-Metro midfielder, Yi repeatedly rose to his feet, dusted himself off and challenged the Gonzaga defense.
The tireless senior created McDonogh's first and third goals by Eric Shadoff and Matt Beckman, respectively. Beckman's game-winner, off Yi's ground-skimming cross, was one-timed into the net's opposite corner to the right of keeper Chris Tuck from 12 yards with 7:49 to play.
As he summarized the game in 90-degree temperatures, Yi wiped sweat from his face and forehead.
"Tough day. They were shadowing me the whole game, rotating players. But they eventually got tired," said Yi, who twice bounced shots off the goal and had two others stopped by Tuck (15 saves). "Toward the end, they thought it would be best to just take me down every time I got the ball."
Second-team All-Metro forward Kyle McHugh scored the second goal for the host Eagles (2-1) off a corner kick six minutes into the second half.
McDonogh's David Borowitz made a last-second save after replacing Alex Horwathe, who suffered some memory loss after a late collision and was taken by his parents to Howard County General Hospital. Horwathe was diagnosed with a minor concussion, said McDonogh coach Steve Nichols, who lists him as "questionable" for today's game at John Carroll.
Despite having graduated seven starters from an 18-2-1 team that won last year's Washington Catholic Athletic Conference crown, Gonzaga (2-1) was nearly hoisted to victory by Tuck and striker Jarrett Thomas (11 goals).
Tuck stopped seven of McDonogh's first eight shots in the second half, diving to his left to thwart point-blank shots by Beckman, Yi and Colin Barclay.
"There was a series of corner kicks we had that should have gone in every time," Yi said. "But kudos to their goalie: He had a spectacular game."
Tuck's two booming punts were misread by the McDonogh defense and led directly to Thomas' goals. The first was advanced by Gonzaga's Taofik Kolade to Thomas, who buried it from about 18 yards to make it 1-1 with 21:44 left in the first half. Thomas scored his second goal in similar fashion, tying the game at 2 with a 15-yard shot past a diving Horwathe's right side.
"We played with a lot of heart," Thomas said. "We'll only get better."