TURBOTVILLE - An early goal in soccer is difficult to overcome for a number of reasons.
It gives the scoring team early momentum and puts the opposing team into chase mode as it attempts to undo the early damage.
Against a team like Warrior Run, one goal would certainly be difficult to overcome. Two goals and you're talking a monster comeback.
In Thursday's Heartland Athletic Conference II match between Loyalsock and Warrior Run, two goals in the opening 10 minutes by the Defenders put the Lancers in that very situation.
The two early goals, which nearly occurred in the same minute, ballooned into a 5-0 win for Warrior Run as Loyalsock's attempt at a comeback was stopped by a dominant performance from the Defenders.
"It was a huge momentum swing, because both teams were sort of feeling each other out in the first 10 minutes," Warrior Run coach Doug Bastian said. "The previous game was on their home field, i.e. artificial turf. We knew what they could do on the turf, but weren't sure how they would be on the real thing."
Maybe the natural surface had something to do with it, but Loyalsock (8-7-1) looked like it was struggling to contain the speed of Warrior Run. And when Chris Schaeffer broke through with a low shot to the far post, Warrior Run (14-0) continued to press.
"Our defense is young and these guys are fast, especially on the wing," Loyalsock coach Andy Zimmerman said. "They have a lot of speed and you make a mistake against a team like this and you saw what happened in the first 10 minutes. Two mistakes, two goals."
The Defenders' second tally came from an Alex Wehr free kick, which was deflected to the feet of Chase Snyder, who wasn't marked inside the box. Snyder easily finished the goal with a tap-in to the far post.
Warrior Run was especially dangerous on free kick chances in the contest, nearly scoring on two attempts in the middle part of the first half.
Brett Powell, who iced the contest with an unassisted effort in the closing minutes, put a ball on the net and forced Louis Comfort to punch the attempt over the goal. Elias George nearly scored on the second, forcing Comfort into another save.
"If the other team is fouling you and you get free kicks awarded, you have to take advantage," Bastian said. "It sent a subtle message saying that if they want to tangle with us they are going to have to defend some tough set plays from us."
Up to that point, Comfort, despite giving up the two goals, played a solid game. The Defenders' offensive surge produced plenty of scoring chances, but Comfort stopped most.
"They were two good shots and our goalie couldn't get to them," Zimmerman said. "You make mistakes against Warrior Run and that's what happens."
Loyalsock's chances of digging out of the 2-0 hole took a hit when Comfort dove headfirst into the feet of Korrey Sidler, who forced the chance by streaking down the wing. Comfort broke up the charge, but was forced to the sideline. Comfort suffered a shin contusion early in the season and Zimmerman held him out as a precaution.
The impact of losing the team's top keeper was almost immediately felt when George lifted a shot on goal. The ball was stopped, but not controlled which gave James Hamm an easy tap in for a 3-0 lead.
George finally broke through in the second half when he flicked a ball by the keeper for an empty-net goal.
"I thought we could have got one in the second half, but when they got their fourth goal it just deflated us," Zimmerman said. "That's a good team and they are undefeated for a reason."
WR-Chris Schaeffer (unassisted), 7:53; WR-Chase Snyder (Alex Wehr), 9:01; WR-James Hamm (unassisted), 18:02; WR-Elias George (unassisted), 51:34; WR-Brett Powell (unassisted), 76:18.
Shots: L 7 WR 28. Shots on goal: L 6 WR 13. Corners: L 1 WR 10. Saves: L (Louis Comfort/Ryan Loeh) 8, WR (Jason McWilliams) 6. Fouls: L 12 WR 10. Cards: L Austin Bair (yellow), 60:05. WR none.
Records: Loyalsock 8-7-1. Warrior Run 14-0.
Next: Warrior Run at Central Columbia, Tuesday, 4 p.m. Jersey Shore at Loyalsock, Tuesday, 7 p.m.