The Issaquah boys’ junior varsity soccer team had a great performance on Friday, April 22, taking down a well bolstered Redmond squad. The boys have had a few tough losses earlier this season against Mount Si twice and Skyline, but they split games this week in a difficult stretch of the schedule. After competing with Newport earlier this week, the Eagles knew that they were capable of big things against Redmond on Friday. The game started out slow, with both teams trying to keep pace with one another. Around the 12-minute mark, Issaquah had a textbook cross kick by sophomore Cyrus Nikzad that led to a shot on goal that just missed. Despite Issaquah’s strong midfield play, Redmond was able to strike first as their winger snuck a beautiful kick just under the crossbar to give them the 1-0 lead in the first half.
It was a lackadaisical first half for the Eagles after the goal was scored, and it was disappointing to see especially because the team has been hot coming into this game, winning eight of their last ten, and on a win streak of seven games. Coach Christian Martin after the game described it as a “slow half that doesn’t define our team’s principles.” Going into the second half, the Eagles needed to make some adjustments and switch up matchups. Freshman Nick Games played a big role in executing in the second half for Issaquah, as he had some power plays early on. Games plays a big role on this team, and he has been a big key to the team’s success so far this season. Games stated, “I wanted to adjust in the second half because Redmond was shutting us down early on.” Without any adjustments, the team would not have been able to put together the strong second half that they had.
At the 18 minute mark, Issaquah was able to get a breakaway play that resulted in a goal just out of the Redmond’s keeper’s reach. The game was now tied 1-1 and the momentum had shifted across the field to the Eagles sideline. Less than seven minutes later, the Eagles executed a corner kick perfectly and they took the lead for the first time in the game by a score of 2-1. As time dwindled away, Redmond had a panicked look. Issaquah’s midfield dominated possession time as Redmond couldn’t get the ball on Issaquah’s side of the field much at all in the second half. Issaquah came out victorious, with a triumphant second half performance. Nikzad said, “It was our communication that brought us back, we were too quiet early on in the game.” This was very visible, as you could hear all of the players clearly in a quiet environment at Redmond High School. Games expanded, “We get outside of ourselves sometimes and we have to trust ourselves and the game plan.”
Anytime you are able to go on the road on a Friday night and get a win against any KingCo opponent is huge for a program. Coach Christian Martin stated, “I was proud of the way we battled towards the end of the first half and the most of the second. This gives us a lot of momentum moving into a rivalry game against Skyline next Tuesday.” This game was a lot of fun to watch and we were glad to see Issaquah come out as the victors. The Eagles now have a record of 11-4, maintaining second place in the KingCo standings. They will go on to play Skyline in the next one and they are more than capable of getting the job done at home next Tuesday.