Forsyth Central’s boys soccer team jumped out to an early lead against North Forsyth on Tuesday, and despite a stout defensive effort from the Raiders, the Bulldogs captured the momentum late and took a 2-0 region win.
With the win, Central remains undefeated with a 4-0 overall record and a 2-0 mark in Region 5-7A. North dropped to 0-2 in the region.
“I thought North played really hard, and I thought they did a great job of defending,” Central boys coach Will Gifford said. “I thought that we struggled, quite frankly. The bottom line is this: Any region win is a good region win, and defensively, we kept a shutout.”
North had a critical chance to get back into the game with 21:51 left in regulation, when Ventura Soto was allowed a penalty kick after getting fouled in the box. However, Central goalie Keegan Williford dove to make the save, keeping the Bulldogs’ lead at two.
“It's a game-changer,” North assistant boys coach Michael Carter said. “It's a momentum swing and unfortunately the momentum swung the other way. After that great save, they were energized.”
North head coach Jared Steinberg was serving the second game of a two-game red card suspension.
Central’s two goals both game in the first half. Alex Guzman scored the first one on a nice pass from the left side of the goal with 31:43 left until halftime. Seven minutes later, Anthony Grasso lifted a floater over North goalie Alberto Rangel-Castro for the 2-0 lead.
“We had two mistakes that cost us,” Carter said. “We had two mistakes in front of the goal, stabbing at the ball instead of holding your position where you're supposed to be. But Central's a good team, and I felt like we compared pretty well with them.
“Once upon a time, we would have gotten blown out. Now we're being competitive and that's what we're trying to do.”
For most of the game, though, particularly in the second half, Rangel-Castro was very solid in goal for the Raiders. He collected a pair of key saves late in the game to keep his team within striking distance.
“I thought that they did a good job defensively, and I thought we struggled to finish our chances,” Gifford said. “Their goalkeeper had a great game.”
Central’s undefeated record will be challenged again on Friday, when it travels to play South Forsyth. North will also travel on Friday to play region foe Milton.