Central Soccer Routs Sale Creek in Opener 6-1

CENTRAL SOCCER ROUTS SALE CREEK IN OPENER 6-1 -- Junior Haroun Ghazi looks down the field during the game against Grace Baptist Academy.

Quiana Redman

CENTRAL SOCCER ROUTS SALE CREEK IN OPENER 6-1 — Junior Haroun Ghazi looks down the field during the game against Grace Baptist Academy.

Landon Cook, Staff Writer

The 2021 boys soccer season opener ended in a 6-1 win against Sale Creek on Monday, March 22. The Pounders cruised to an easy victory, which showcased the team’s talent.

The team’s inability to practice due to weather proved to not be a hindrance for the Pounders as they opened up the game strong. In the 28th minute, forward Carmelo Villanueva scored the first goal of the game after an impressive run and pass from Senior Kai Woodard. Shortly after, Senior captain Bassam Faleh rocketed a strike from 30 yards out, placing it just outside the reach of the Sale Creek goalie in the top right corner of the net, marking a 2-0 Central lead. 

The Pounders were dominating Sale Creek in every fashion at the half, putting up six shots on the goal to just one from Sale Creek, with twice as many corner kicks. The time of possession was also dominated by the Central squad, which smothered Sale Creek’s offensive gameplan.

Senior goalkeeper Riley Martin put on a stellar performance. The only shot by Sale Creek was saved just under the crossbar by Martin. The Central defense performed exceptionally and were responsible for keeping Martin clean throughout the game.

After the intermission, Sale Creek came out out of the gate strong, capitalizing on one of three corner kicks. Carmelo Villanueva responded by drilling a shot past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net for his second goal of the night. Villanueva continued to put on a clinic, adding a third goal seconds after his previous, completing the hat trick.

Senior captain Bassam Faleh gave praise to his young teammate: “He [Carmelo Villanueva] added a very strong energy to the team that was needed heading into the season. He played great and gave us a nice advantage early in the game that we had to capitalize on.”

Late in the second half, with the score being 4-1 in Central’s favor, Jose Cortes sent a shot across the pitch and into the right side of the net tallying another goal for the Pounders. After a couple of stout defensive stands, Bassam Faleh was granted a free kick that was put in the goal by Junior Haroun Ghazi, finalizing the dominating performance by a score of 6-1.

“Our defense played fantastic,” Central Head Coach Tim Browder said. “We didn’t get a chance to practice at all last week because of the rain so it feels good to work some of the bugs out.”

Central moves to 1-0 on the season, while rival Sale Creek falls to 0-2.

In the following weeks, the Pounders went on the road to play Bradley Central, Howard, and Grace. In the game against Bradley Central, played on March 23, Central suffered a 4-1 loss. On March 30, Central faced off against Howard. The Pounders put on a lackluster performance, which resulted in a 9-0 loss. After a cancellation of the game against Lookout Valley, the Pounders traveled to Grace where they were bested 6-0.

The Pounders fall to 1-3 on the season, desperate for a win to put the season back on track.

Readers can view the latest sports updates on the sports center page. This is where schedules, scores, and rosters will be posted. The Digest will continue to bring the latest coverage and updates as the 2021 season progresses.