ARGOS — Argos’ defense played its best game of the season, and the Dragons hit the field fired up in a 2-0 rivalry win over the visiting Rockies at Argos Wednesday.
“They were stoked tonight, they were ready to roll, and mentally I don’t think we showed up tonight,” said Plymouth Head Boys Soccer Coach Josh Martin. “It’s a big rivalry. They wanted it more tonight. They earned it, and they got it.”
“This is the first year since I’ve been coaching that a team has won on its home field,” said fourth-year Argos head coach Todd VanDerWeele. “I knew that Plymouth would come ready to play. I saw them at the tournament over the weekend in the hot weather. They played really well tonight, and we had to play well to get anything out of this.”
Argos outshot the visitors by a 4-2 shots on goal margin in the first half and scored a pair of quality goals within a 15-minute span in the first half to put Plymouth down early.
Ronald Tanner hit a low drive from around 16 yards out on a Taylor Ogle pass to net the Dragons’ first goal in the 13th minute, and freshman Damon Binkley bent a shot just over the outstretched hand of leaping Plymouth goalkeeper Charlie Brown following a Dominic Cataldo pass in the 28th minute.
“Ronald has been really hot shooting this year, and he was able to get some space. Plymouth’s goalkeeper is amazing, and Charlie was in good position, he just couldn’t stop it. It was low and right inside the post,” said VanDerWeele.
“The second goal, I expected the shot, I didn’t expect it to dip in. Again, Charlie was in the right spot, it was just an amazing shot. In big games, you’re going to have to have people step up, and they both stepped up and got it done.”
The Rockies regrouped after the intermission, outpossessing Argos for most of the second half and leveling four shots on goal to none by the Dragons in the second half.
Plymouth had a chance to move within striking distance on a header by Doug Andrews from around 10 yards out in the 70th minute, but Argos goalkeeper Zach Stockman made a perfect diving save to thwart the shot. The Rockies had another chance when Cesar Aguilar had a go from just inside the 18-yard box with around four minutes left in the game, but Stockman again saved the day with a leaping catch.
“We had two golden opportunities,” said Martin. “The header sent across the box to Doug Andrews, the keeper made an excellent save there. We could have punched one out, and we would’ve been looking alright. The second opportunity, Oscar Aguilar gets in behind, plays a wonderful ball across the box, and Cesar nicks the post trying to go back to the near post. That would’ve made the score 2-1, so it would’ve probably been a little too little, too late, but we had some opportunities. They played some really sturdy defense tonight though.”
“That’s the best game we’ve played defensively all year. I’m sure that some of it is because of the game,” said VanDerWeele. “They came together and were really solid; we’ve had one mistake defensively in other games that we give up a goal on, and they didn’t have that tonight.
“The keeper, he has been amazing all year. That save that he made probably finished the game and changed the game because if they’d have scored that, there would have been plenty of time to get another one.”
Binkley left the game late in the first half with what appeared to be a dislocated elbow.
“He’s had a game or two to get used to it and once he got on the scoresheet he’s just been on fire. He’s been distributing well, he’s finishing well, and it is a little bit of a disappointment,” VanDerWeele said. “I think we’re deep enough this year that hopefully in the short term we can fill in for him depending on what’s wrong and obviously we won’t know until tonight or tomorrow.”
Argos improves to 5-2-0 with Wednesday’s win, while Plymouth slips to 4-4-2 after a 2-0-1 finish at a sweltering Blueberry Tournament over the weekend.
• ARGOS 2, PLYMOUTH 0
Argos — Ronald Tanner (Taylor Ogle), 13th minute
Argos — Damon Binkley (Dominic Cataldo), 28th minute
Shots on goal: Plymouth 6, Argos 4
Saves: Charlie Brown (Plymouth) 2, Argos Zach Stockman (Argos) 5
Corners: Plymouth 4, Argos 1
Fouls: Plymouth 10, Argos 13
Record: Plymouth 4-4-2, Argos 5-2
JV score: Plymouth 2, Argos 1