PCHS boys’ soccer wins, but not satisified
A one-goal win over Union not enough for Merchant
The Park City High School boys’ soccer team looked defeated as it walked off Dozier Field on Tuesday afternoon.
The scoreboard read as a 1-0 win for the Miners over Union in a region match, but you wouldn’t have known it by the looks of the players. Despite the win, head coach Tom Merchant feels his team could have played a better game.
“It was a very frustrating game because I feel like we’re a much better team than what we just played,” Merchant said. “We can play better than that. I think our ball movement [in the beginning] showed that we could. Now, we just need to be consistent with it and take advantage of opportunities. We made it into a difficult game for ourselves.”
The lone goal of the game came off of the boot of Paco Jaurrieta, who corralled the rebound off of another player’s shot into the back of the net early in the second half. The winning goal, however, it was almost never meant to be. Juarrieta’s attempt at the goal was the third or fourth try on that scoring possession for the Miners.
The Miners’ strggle to score was the story for much of the game. They received opportunities to score but did not take advantage, which was especially infuriating for Merchant and the scoring staff. Since the start of the season, Park City has been working on finishing possessions with scores.
Merchant felt his team could have been up by two or three goals by halftime, but instead, the Miners allowed the Cougars to stay in it.
“We couldn’t put the ball away,” Merchant said. “So yeah, there’s something to work on. But in doing that, we started giving [Union] hope that they could play with us. We’re forgetting basic stuff that we need to do better.”
Nonetheless, Merchant did spot some aspects of the game where the team was effective. He was pleased with the play from the midfield positions, specifically. There was fluid motion from Park City throughout the game, though Merchant does believe some players could be quicker when making decisions with the ball.
He also wants to see better execution down the stretch. It’s natural for players to want to score as often as possible, but with a 1-0 lead late in the game, the Miners were pushing a little too hard to add an insurance goal by attempting long passes that eventually went out of play.
“We started looking for more goals rather than realized we’re up by a goal and there’s five minutes left,” Merchant said. “Just win the stinkin’ game and move on. Another day will come.”
With Tuesday’s win, the Miners’ record improves to 5-3 on the season. One loss, however, came when the team was shorthanded a few players. Another came in a 1-0 heartbreaker to Dixie, a team that reached the UHSAA 3A Boys’ Soccer Championships semifinal round last season.
Despite its close game with Union, Park City sits in a good place as it continues its run through region play.
“We’re not doing badly,” Merchant said. “We’re okay. We need to score goals. Sneaking by Union by one goal is not going to get us to the state championships.”
The Miners traveled to Tooele on Friday afternoon, but this issue had already gone to print before the game ended. The next matchup for Park City will be a home contest with Grantsville on April 7.
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Park City native Sebastian Saucedo fulfilled his dream of playing for his local team. Now he’s trying to take a step forward playing in Mexico.