GCCC men drop opener on penalty kick
With a stiff 40 mph wind, Corey Bryant had a message to his team well before their match with Neosho ever started.
"We are going to play defense in the first half," the second-year coach said. "We want to hold back. Then, as soon as the second half starts, we attack."
The philosophical strategy seemed reasonable considering that mother nature's fury unleashed severe-thunderstorm type winds, making a mere five-yard walk seem like a battle against an ocean current. And while the game plan worked for almost 70 minutes, one mistake cost the Broncbusters dearly.
Guilherme Oliveira scored on a penalty kick in the 86th minute, and Neosho handed Garden City Community College an 1-0 season-opening loss Friday afternoon at Broncbuster Stadium.
"We executed the game plan perfectly in the first half," Bryant said. "We just didn't come out into the second half with the right mindset to the put the game away."
The Broncbusters' plan to clog their side of the field kept Neosho at bay for the first 45 minutes. Then, with the wind at their back in the second half, Garden City failed to capitalize. And with a little over four minutes left in regulation, Mikkel Braz attempted to clear a 50-50 ball inside the box, but he collided with Oliveira. Moments later, the official called a foul, giving the Panthers a chance to break the deadlock. And they did just that when the left-footed left fullback rocketed a shot towards the left corner of the goal. Unfortunately, Broncbuster freshman keeper Levi Flores guessed wrong and dove the opposite way. Match over.
"Losing a game late on a penalty kick is always hard to swallow, but we will learn from it and come back better," Bryant added.
Because of their strategy, Garden City was limited to just one shot on goal in the match: a Felix Mesquita misfire in the second half. Other than that, it was all about the defense, which in the end, fell four minutes shy of pulling off a masterpiece.
Garden City was at Cowley County on Monday.