Late coaching move helps Rosewood
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 26, 2013 1:48 PM
PRINCETON -- Than Troung sat and waited.
Rosewood head varsity boys' soccer Eddie Maldonado, at times, looked back at his leading scorer on the bench.
"Do I play him or not?" Maldonado questioned himself.
And at the right time, too.
Nagged by an ankle injury for much of the season, Troung stepped onto the field during a second-half stoppage in play and eventually delivered the game-winning goal in a 1-0 triumph over archrival Princeton on the Fred Bartholomew Jr. Athletic Complex pitch Wednesday evening. The Eagles (8-3-1 overall) collected their fourth Carolina 1-A Conference victory in six tries this season.
The Bulldogs (1-10-0) suffered their eighth shutout loss of the year.
"Than's ankle is swollen and has been struggling all year," Maldonado said. "We were hoping we could sit him out today and the rest of this week, let him rest a little bit. We told him to bring your stuff, just in case.
"We know that whenever we play them it's going to be a grudge match."
Tied at 0-0 through 40 minutes, the teams turned up their intensity and challenged every ball either in the air or on the ground. Play turned physical and led to a pair of red-card ejections for an incident near midfield.
Maldonado called Troung off of the bench while the midfield referee and his assistants sorted out the details. Each team played a man down the remaining 13-plus minutes of the game. Subsequent yellow cards disrupted play for the Bulldogs and the second infraction gave the Eagles just enough room to squeeze out the game's lone goal.
On the restart, Ethan Chapin zipped a through ball to Troung, who split two defenders and had a breakaway on goal. Princeton keeper Jose Morales came out to challenge and cut down the angle, but Troung unloaded a one-touch strike to the back post.
It was Troung's 10th goal of the season and Chapin's second assist in as many games.
"You've got to be heads-up, you've got to be behind the ball the whole time even if there are just six players on the field," first-year Princeton head coach Steve Brush said of the nine-on-eight opportunity.
"They caught us. No problem. (It was a) great game, and nothing against Rosewood and their execution. They're a dangerous team in transition and get in your box with a couple of passes."
Since their victory over Hobbton three weeks ago, the Eagles have labored to finish around the goal. Morales recorded 12 saves on 16 shots and his defensive back line cleared two additional scoring attempts inside the 6-yard box before Troung connected in the 77th minute.
Rosewood finished with a 18-7 advantage in shots and 8-2 edge in corners. Eagles keeper Zack Barnes posted a clean sheet between the pipes in place of starter Daniel Herring, who sat out with a concussion.
"The first 10 or 15 minutes, we had four or five good chances and couldn't put it in," Maldonado said. "Play dropped off at the end of the first half ... was like a walking pace, a struggle (and) I don't know what else to say about it. If we play the whole game like we did the first 10 or 15 minutes, it shouldn't be a struggle."
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