The No. 1 McDonogh boys soccer team wasn't completely on its game Friday and the play of its opponent, No. 2 Loyola Blakefield, certainly had something to do with that.
The Eagles still managed a comfortable 3-0 win over their closest Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference foe, a worrisome result for the rest of the league as the playoffs approach.
Led by a two-goal, one assist performance from Tunde Akinlosotu, McDonogh improved to 16-0 overall and 14-0 in league play to clinch the top seed with two games left in the regular season. Loyola (13-4-1) stayed in second place with a 10-3-1 league mark.
After the Eagles enjoyed a strong first half to take a 1-0 halftime lead on an early goal from Nicholas Brown, the Dons had the better of the play in the second half but were unable to scorebefore the Eagles put the game away on Akinlosotu's two goals. The end result pleased McDonogh coach Brandon Quaranta, but the Eagles' uneven performance didn't.
"Obviously, we clinched the top seed and I don't want to sound negative," Quaranta said. "It's certainly a good day for our program with two games left to have that locked up, but we need to get better and we understand that, and there's some points we can take out of that second half to get better for the stretch run."
The Dons, who were without All-Metro senior midfielder Gavin Barger (he's training with the U.S. under-18 national team), controlled play for the first 15 minutes of the second half, but couldn't finish any scoring chances.
Akinlosotu didn't miss on his second-half chances. Defender Cale Thorne sent a long ball from behind midfield that Akinlosotu got to and chipped a shot over Loyola goalie Carson Hunt (10 saves) for a 2-0 lead with 25 minutes to play.
With the Dons continuing to press, Jack Lombardo had a chance from six yards out that he shot high with 17:30 remaining. Akinlosotu made it 3-0 minutes later to secure the win. He has 14 goals and 11 assists this season.
"Tunde has had his best weeks of training the past two weeks. He's been up and down this season and I think he knows he can be better than he's been," Quaranta said. "So I've been really proud of him the past two weeks — he's been our most consistent player in training and I think it's carried over into games. He was excellent today and made some plays in critical moments when we needed them."