LYNN — A pair of second-half goals from senior forward Fernando Gomez lifted the Classical boys soccer team to a 3-0 win over Winthrop Tuesday at Manning Field.
But the story of the game was a tough-luck performance from Classical’s attack. The Rams tested Vikings goalie Auggie Cherico from start to finish with a plethora of opportunities but were limited to a 1-0 halftime advantage.
To Classical’s credit, the Rams remained patient and followed their game plan.
“We dominated possession, we had chances and that’s what we try to do every game,” Classical coach Eric Moreno Jr. said. “Sometimes we don’t convert, unfortunately. But we didn’t give up. We kept going and pushing, and the goal eventually came. We were up 1-0 and in the second half we continued with confidence.”
It didn’t take long for Classical’s attack to dictate the flow and pace of the game. The Rams took the opening kick and passed the ball around on Winthrop’s side of the field for about five minutes before allowing the Vikings’ defense to breathe.
Despite dominating time of possession, Classical’s shots weren’t crisp enough to find the back of the net. The Rams sent upward of a dozen shots on net, yet had nothing to show for their efforts on the scoreboard.
“Sometimes it’s frustrating but that’s the game,” Moreno Jr. said. “That’s how it is. Sometimes you dominate a game and it just takes time. The chances are there.”
That changed 27 minutes into the period, when Alex Ixlaj set Maycol Marroquin up with a perfect through ball. Marroquin did the rest, cashing in on the picture-perfect assist to give Classical a long-awaited 1-0 lead.
“It was a great play from Ixlaj,” Moreno Jr. said. “We were just passing around the middle. Ixlaj saw the opening, we had a player run into the opening, Maycol ran into the pass and he finished it. It was a really good finish.”
Classical didn’t take any chances in the second half. Gomez cushioned the Rams’ lead to 2-0 just 90 seconds into the period on a shot that just made it past Cherico’s outstretched hands. Gomez found the back of the net again midway through the half, closing Classical’s 3-0 win.
With a secure lead, Moreno Jr. emptied his bench through the closing stretch.
“That’s why Fernando’s our captain,” Moreno Jr. said. “He’s always there when we need him the most. He always comes through, all the time. He has that leadership. He has that gene. Some players just have it. They know, ‘important moments, that’s when I’m going to score.'”
The Rams have a week to prepare for one of their biggest games of the regular season. Next Monday (5:15), Classical gets another crack at crosstown rival English. Classical fell to English 3-0 back in September.
“We’ll approach it the same way we approach any other team,” Moreno Jr. said. “We’re going to come in, try to play our system and not change too much. I believe that’s a big, pivotal game for the Northeastern Conference championship.
“That loss is behind us now. We know English has improved this year. You have to give them that credit. But it was our fourth game in six days. It was an uncharacteristic game from us. They scored on two set pieces. I think this will be a different game.”