Even when he’s not 100 percent physically, Shenendehowa’s Chris Schmid can be a difference maker.
The senior’s knack for putting the ball in the net was the difference in the Plainsmen’s 2-1 win over Colonie on Tuesday. His half-volley from the top right of the box screamed through a tangle of players with 13:04 to play, allowing his team to go to 4-0-0 in Suburban Council boys’ soccer.
“Chris is a finisher. I don’t know how it found a hole in that sea of players, but that’s what goal scorers do,” said Shenendehowa coach Jonathan Bain, who is hoping to get his striker more minutes each time out as he recovers from a knee injury.
“I didn’t want to play him a full game, so I took him out in the first half. He’s not really match fit yet,” Bain said.
“He played better in the second half, and when he scored the goal, I think the juices started to flow, so I wanted to keep him in there.”
Schmid’s goal short-circuited a spirited second-half effort by the Garnet Raiders, who had tied the game 10 minutes after the break on a Matteo Curto goal, and were becoming more dangerous as the game wound down.
“They sat back a little in the first half, and let us play. In the second half, they came out differently,” said Bain. “I told the boys I was a little bit stubborn in not making an adjustment. I took responsibility for that.
“You make a mistake, and they capitalize, and now you’re in a dogfight.”
Colonie coach Mike Trimarchi lamented the fact that his team let at least one, and possibly two, standings points slip away.
“We didn’t show up for the first 20 minutes,” he said. “We weren’t competing. We were hesitant. With about 10 minutes to go in the first half, we started to play.”
Trimarchi is trying to find an offensive spark for his 1-4-0 team, which scored four of its seven goals in a win over Ballston Spa. The loss of talented underclassman Uyi Omorogbe, who is now enrolled at a private school in Minnesota, has taken some speed and attacking skill from Colonie.
“We lost a lot of our offense, especially with Uyi going away,” said Trimarchi. “Everyone needs to step up, and the guys are just starting to get comfortable. The biggest thing is they have to be confident that they are soccer players, not position players.”
Shenendehowa’s first goal came from central defender James Homan, an 11th-grader who turned in a strong two-way game as he also helped contain Colonie’s top player, Paolino Curto.
“James is great in the air. We generally try to key our set pieces on James and Phil [fellow central defender Phil Barrett],” said Bain, who gave Homan a lot of responsibility last fall. “James started all last year at center back as a sophomore, which is pretty rare.”
Both coaches came away with a better idea of what their respective teams need to improve.
“They’re more experienced than we are. Man to man, they’re probably more talented,” Trimarchi said. “But we know that we can play with anyone in the Suburban.
“We had good chances, especially in the second half. Typically, at the end of the year, we don’t make those mistakes. Once these guys believe it, we’ll be in good shape.”
“We’re getting there, but still, especially in the offensive third, we’ve got work to do,” said Bain.
“One time its a technical mistake. One time its a tactical mistake. The way these things get better is through repetition. We have to keep working the patterns that we run, and hopefully, we read some different options off those patterns.”