For a while, it appeared William Chrisman’s soccer team might have to make its early 1-0 lead stand against crosstown rival Truman.
It would have held up against a Truman team that remained winless after Monday’s game at Independence All-School Stadium, but two goals from perhaps the shortest player on the field in Cesar Palomino helped the host Bears pull away in the second half for a 4-0 win.
“We’ve had some ups and downs this year, but I have a pretty good group of guys,” said Chrisman coach John Straub, who received an ice-water dousing after his team improved to 3-4. “They just have to find a way to believe they can beat anybody.
“[Truman] Coach [Jared] Byrne’s a great coach, and having that early lead – sometimes having that 1-nil lead might be the hardest thing in soccer.”
That 1-0 lead came less than seven minutes in, courtesy of Jerry Snow’s header off a Sam Robison corner kick.
Truman stiffened a little on defense after that, and had a couple chances to equalize, but Christian Villa’s free kick from 32 yards out sailed just over the crossbar late in the first half, and his 35-yard blast in the 55th minute bounced off the crossbar.
Instead, it was Palomino who netted the game’s second goal in the 61st, outfoxing a couple defenders atop the 18-yard box and dribbling wide when the goalkeeper came up to defend to gain an open-net goal.
“As a team, we’ve worked so hard on serving it in,” said the senior forward, who only stands as tall as most of his teammates’ shoulders. “We’ve been working so hard at it, and it happened today.
“We kept our composure, never gave up, and I was just there at the right time.”
Bears goalkeeper Andrew Wayman kept it 2-0 in the next minute with his close-range save during a scramble off a corner kick, and Palomino struck again atop the penalty box in the 73rd, this time chipping the ball over the goalie after a Truman defender stumbled down.
“He very well might be the littlest guy on the field,” Straub said of Palomino, “but he has a passion for the game of soccer. He works so hard and finds a way to put the ball in the back of the net.”
Freshman Zabdiel Caballero was awarded and converted a penalty kick in the 74th minute to complete the scoring.
“We weren’t ready to play from the beginning,” Byrne said after his team fell to 0-9. “Even after the first goal – and sometimes that can wake a team up – we still hung our heads for about 10 minutes.”
Byrne’s team was hampered by injuries to the back line, as Landon Rogers got carted off in the 28th minute after taking an inadvertent cleat to the head that opened a gash, plus two other defenders hobbled off in the second half.
“We can make excuses,” Byrnes said, “but we weren’t winning balls before those injuries. We played hard; we just didn’t play very smart.”
Chrisman got off 17 total shots and earned six corner kicks compared to 11 and three for Truman. The Patriots’ Alex Villa saved six shots on goal, and Wayman snared five.
“Andrew did a very nice job – nice and composed,” Straub said. “I’m very pleased with how he’s played the last few games.”