OTTAWA – It wasn’t the way that Ottawa wanted to say goodbye to seniors Ethan Cela, Adam Gross and Landen Thorsen, but it was exactly the way the La Salle-Peru Cavaliers wanted to start their stretch run heading toward the postseason.
The Cavs dominated the ball in their offensive end almost throughout, getting an unassisted goal from Seth Adams, then a pair of scores from Brayan Gonzalez to come away from the King Field encounter with a 3-0 Interstate 8 Conference victory.
L-P, which moved to 9-6-1 this season with the win, had defeated the Pirates 3-1 on Sept. 12 and took this one in much the same manner, not giving the home team much of a chance to even threaten keeper Erick Laurrabaquio-Moscosa, let alone score.
“Today we played more consistent, more our style than we did against them last time,” L-P coach David Spudic. “You saw more of who we truly are today. … When we come out on the field, we’re going to dictate how the game is going to be, and tonight was a perfect example of that. We were very disciplined, everyone worked hard to reach their goal, and they showed that tonight, and they’re going to continue to show that for the rest of the season.
“Tonight we played well and gave everyone a glimpse of their potential. Once they get out there and start playing the way they can, no one will be able to take the ball away from us, and we’ll just dictate.”
It was in the 32nd minute when Adams maneuvered past a pair of Ottawa defenders and fired a straight-on shot from just beyond the penalty area that got past Pirates keeper Brady Wendt for a 1-0 lead.
The Cavaliers kept the pressure on, keeping the ball on Ottawa’s side of the field by challenging every pass, including clearing attempts from deep in that end.
The visitors came close to increasing the lead when a Gianmarco Luna Tejada shot slipped through Wendt for a hot second, but only minutes later it did expand. On a long pass from Marco Zamudio, Gonzalez leaped over two defenders and punched a header into the net to double the Cavs’ advantage going into halftime.
From there, L-P went into a much more deliberate mode, controlling the ball less aggressively but just as effectively. Still, it widened the game on another header from Gonzalez, poking in a pass from Giovanni Garcia in the 64th minute for a 3-0 advantage.
“Ottawa’s a good team. They were on me, but I just got nice easy headers for both goals,” Gonzalez said, “but I can’t take all the credit for those goals. I got good passes that put me in a good position to head them in, and I just finished it. … We came in wanting to dominate the whole game, start to finish, and we pretty much did that tonight.”
Perhaps Ottawa’s best chance for a goal came in the 26th minute, when Cela booted a close shot that Laurrabaquio-Moscosa was able to corral. There was another great chance in the 51st minute when the Pirates peppered the visiting keeper with four shots from close range, but all were stopped, deflected or too high.
“I feel like we were more competitive in the midfield this time,” Ottawa coach Kevin Oleson said, “that we established a little better ball control that didn’t result in great opportunities necessarily in the second half, but it felt like the latter portion of the first half we were starting to find our rhythm. … L-P capitalized on their opportunities very well, and they’re a quick, aggressive and physical team.
“We talked about being more competitive in some of those 50/50 situations, and I think our guys largely did respond in the second half and started winning more of those, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.”