The Cowboys bench became increasingly agitated as the numbers on the clock approached zero. The players and coaches stood on the edge of the field, hoping for a goal to bring them a much needed equalizer.
Instead, they were greeted with another Irving goal with 12 minutes left, bringing more groans of frustration.
A Cowboys goal did come but with only 30 seconds left on the clock, leaving the final score 2-1 and placing Coppell at third last place with 1-3-1 record in District 6-6A. This was not where the Cowboys had hoped to be five matches into the district season.
“After the game, I told them that we have nine games left,” Coppell coach James Balcom said. “You put together some wins, that’s 27 points still left out there. I know after a couple of losses, heads go down. It gets frustrating and it’s easy to think ‘what if we keep losing?’ So I just want to let them know that there is a lot left to play.”
The match started off fast-paced with multiple shots from both sides in the first five minutes, but as the first half progressed, Irving took control of the match. Twenty-five minutes in, Coppell was barely making plays outside its middle third and was stuck fending off Irving’s strong attacking pressure. After many offensive plays, Irving finally hit the net when the left wing weaved a pass through the defense and Irving junior striker Luis Aguilera scored with a tap-in goal in the final minutes of the first half.
The second half started with Coppell carrying a more energetic aura on the field. The Cowboys took control of its first third and started creating offensive opportunities as the half progressed, but failed to score.
The second Irving goal in the 12th minute nearly sealed the defeat. In the final minutes, Coppell continued to play offensively but Irving’s defense held strong. The only Cowboys goal came in the dying second’s thanks to junior striker Sebastian Flores but by then, the loss was unpreventable.
Coppell hoped to benefit from a few free kicks and attacking opportunities but didn’t always get the calls.
“I give Irving some credit because they use their body well, they know how to win on challenges and they fought hard,” Balcom said. “But yeah, it was tough. You would have liked a few more calls from the rest tonight but you know, you can’t put it entirely on them.”
The win left Irving (3-1-1) in second place behind Marcus, 5-0-0. The Cowboys are now hoping to break out of their winless streak when they play at Flower Mound at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Though Flower Mound won state last season, it lost 27 seniors from its squad.
The team has not lost hope though, exactly a year ago, the Cowboys were in a very similar situation but ended up making it to the second round playoffs by the end of the season.
“We just have to ask more out of everybody, there is not just one person who can win it on their own,” Balcom said. “So it’s got to be more of a team effort, the guys got to play with a little bit more heart. The days where having a Coppell soccer name used to get you wins are in the past. Now, we just have to outwork teams so hopefully, we get that figured out next week.”
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