Its been more than a month since Baton Rouge High and Catholic High played to a scoreless tie, but the teams were still unable to settle the issue Saturday afternoon at the Burbank Soccer Complex.
Baton Rouge High’s Francisco Rodriguez scored with less than two minutes to play, and the two squads went on to end their Division I, District 5 match tied 2-2.
Catholic High (8-1-5, 4-0-2), which led 1-0 at the half, got goals from Bobby Lee and Matthew Morales. Rodriguez scored both goals for Baton Rouge (6-4-7, 2-1-3).
“We fell behind early, but the guys showed some resiliency and patience with what we’re doing,” Baton Rouge coach Richard Harsch said. “I thought we came out in the second half, and worked the ball a little better and created a few more opportunities.”
Capitalizing on enough of those opportunities took away the sting of a second tie with Catholic.
For Catholic, the tie offered little solace after a game where the Bears were outplayed in the second half.
“Honestly, I thought we weren’t very good today. We got what we deserved,” Catholic coach Bo Cassidy said. “I thought we lacked soccer IQ from the way we managed the game to the way we handled pressure. We didn’t seem overly energized, but the credit goes to Baton Rouge High.”
The Bulldogs possessed the ball more in the second half but appeared headed for defeat until Rodriguez’ late goal. Joshua Hogan sent a free kick deep into the penalty box where, after a brief scuffle, Rodriguez put the ball into the back of the net.
“A defender headed it out, and then it came right to me,” Rodriguez said. “A defender stepped up, I took a touch and found the back side of the post.”
Catholic’s goals came off of corner kicks. The first, 27 minutes into the game, came when Killian Neames lofted the kick to the front of the goal from the left corner. Lee came in unimpeded, and found no resistance from goalkeeper Clay Milneck or the Bulldogs defense.
Lee headed the ball cleanly into the net for a 1-0 Catholic lead.
The second goal came 15 minutes into the second half, just after Rodriguez had tied the score 1-1. Also from the left corner, Neames sent a low grounder into the pack that found a clear path to the far post. Morales was there to put the ball into the net for a 2-1 Bears lead.
“Its just defending in front of our goal on set pieces,” Harsch said. “Its something we’ve been working on. Obviously we need a little more work.
“After the first goal I thought we started to do a little better, and then there was another one. You can’t give those up when you play a good team.”
Rodriguez’s first goal came after a crossing pass from Logan Bueche. Rodriguez beat the goalie and Jonah Rittenberry to the ball, and used his hip to nudge the ball into the net temporarily tying the score 1-1.
“I feel like we had the better chances,” Rodriguez said. “We had a lot of possessions in the second half, but it’s a tie. We can get better.”