Home Local Sports Gonzalez nets goal in close loss to Piedmont

Gonzalez nets goal in close loss to Piedmont

Sophomore Gonzalo Gonzalez, pictured making a pass during Thursday's match, scored for Richmond. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

ROCKINGHAM — Facing another tough opponent on Thursday, the Richmond Senior boys’ soccer team couldn’t get back in the win column.

The Raiders and head coach Chris Larsen hosted non-conference Piedmont High School, and despite shutting the Panthers out the final 55 minutes, Richmond fell 2-1.

“I told the guys I can’t fault them for the way they played tonight, or how they’ve played the last handful of games,” Larsen said. “We had lots of chances to score and we’re just missing that extra touch to find the net. 

“We are so close to getting over the hump, and once we can get that first close victory, we’ll be all right. But getting the first one will be the hardest.”

The Panthers (7-0-2) scored both of their goals in a two minute span in the latter part of the first half. Alex Viveros headed a shot into the net in the 24th minute on a long volley into the box.

Scoring the eventual game-winner in the 26th minute, Alfonso Sanchez hit a shot from 20 yards along the left side of the field to the back post.

The Raiders had several chances in the first half, including a redirection in the fifth minute from junior James Eason on a free kick by fellow junior Danny Jaimes.

Sophomore Noah Gil had a shot stopped on an Eason corner kick five minutes later, and senior Jullian Cline just missed a chance to collect a loose ball in the keeper’s box in the 20th minute.

Several Raiders made defensive stops to keep in close, starting with a kick save by senior center back Jeremiah McLean in the 14th minute. 

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Senior outside back Ayden Mabe made a couple of clears and sophomore keeper Adrian Padron made a diving save to his left to stop a shot in the 22nd minute.

Padron came out of the game for five minutes following an apparent injury, seeing Eason keep the Panthers out of the net. Returning for the final 50 minutes of the game, Padron didn’t allow another goal.

Richmond kept the pressure on the entire second half, and sophomore midfielder Gonzalo Gonzalez was rewarded in the 75th minute.

Taking a shot from 25 yards, Gonzalez scored his first goal of the year when he tucked the ball inside the upper right corner along the back post.

“We played better in the second half,” Larsen explained. “Gonzalo had a nice shot from distance to beat the keeper.

“We tried to make a late push and even got a free kick at the top of the 18-yard box with a minute to go, but it sailed high and wide.”

Now 2-5-2 overall and 1-1 in conference play, the Raiders will host familiar Sandhills Athletic Conference foe Hoke County High School on Monday. Richmond and the Bucks will start at 7 p.m.

Note: The Richmond junior varsity soccer team didn’t play on Thursday and will host Hoke County at 5 p.m. on Monday. Chris Larsen and Shannon Mabe contributed to this article.

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Kyle Pillar is a 16-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.