By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 4, 2011 1:50 PM
SEVEN SPRINGS -- Rosewood delivered the first punch.
Spring Creek countered with the knockout blow.
Antonio Avila collected two goals, the Gators turned back the Eagles 5-1 and continued their phenomenal domination on the Carolina 1-A Conference boys' soccer scene.
Otto Binar contributed one goal and assist for Spring Creek, which improved to 21-0-3 in league play since 2008.
"The effort was disappointing," said Rosewood head coach Eddie Maldonado. "Now they're a good team, top of the class in the conference. We told the boys after we beat Goldsboro last Wednesday night that Monday (today) is a big a game ... big test.
"We didn't come out and do anything."
Except the first two-plus minutes.
The Eagles (2-9-1 overall, 2-1 CC) intercepted balls in open spaces and built a solid attack from the midfield. Bret Robinson caused a turnover, controlled the ball and sent a pass toward the 18-yard box.
Tan Troung split two defenders, ran onto the ball and tucked it into the net for his first goal of the season. The freshman forward ended Rosewood's streak of 500-plus scoreless minutes in its last seven meetings against Spring Creek.
"Rosewood is a aggressive team ... more physical," said Gators' assistant coach Dante Ortiz. "I told the guys the only way to combat that was touches (on the ball) and have possession. That's what we've been working on in practice every day."
Down 1-0, the Gators went to work.
Spring Creek used crisp passes to push the ball upfield and create offensive opportunities in Rosewood's final defensive third of the field. Keeper Daniel Herring, who recorded 14 saves, preserved the Eagles' one-goal advantage until the 18th minute.
Omar Zavela collected a rebound off a teammate and fired it into the net for the 1-1 tie. Twelve minutes later, Avila converted a penalty kick after Rosewood committed a hard foul inside the box.
"We didn't have the effort to match their effort," said Maldonado. "Skill-wise, they are the better team. There's no doubt about that. But it doesn't take any skill to work hard."
The Gators iced the outcome with three goals during a 12-minute span in the second half. Binar scored in the 43rd minute, followed by Avila in the 49th off Binar's assist. David Vega capped the scoring in the 53rd minute.
Avila leads the team with seven goals.
"That (early) goal was just a distraction," said Ortiz. "I told the guys we have the (better) game and just keep touches on the ball, which will lead to the goal. Then let the defense do rest of the job."