Two weeks removed from a 2-0 victory against East Jefferson, Ben Franklin returned to Joseph Yenni Stadium on Friday to finish off their Division II, District 8 rivals, simultaneously ending the league race.
Behind four goals — two in each half — and a stellar defense, the Falcons defeated the Warriors 4-0, positioning themselves in the driver’s seat to claim the district crown.
“To start off, we shifted the ball really well in the midfield,” Donte Oliver said. “We played with more midfielders, so we were able to move the ball quickly, get it from side to side, find our forwards and build up some combination plays that opened up their backline.”
And when they found space, the Falcons capitalized. Oliver Kjellgren corralled a loose ball in the box and slotted the first goal in the far left post in the 27th minute.
Minutes later, Chris Chatters doubled the effort in the first half with a right-footed rocket to put the Falcons up 2-0.
“We’re not predictable. We keep the ball, move it from side to side, put through balls, hit the long balls. We had combinations and short passes to create in different ways,” Falcons coach Jose Ferrand said. “I think that’s key to be competitive. If you’re predictable, then teams have a much better chance of stopping you. But we have weapons in positions all over the field, and that’s tough for teams to stop.”
In the second half, Oliver added a third goal followed by a Miles McGuire goal.
“Just clinical finishing,” Ben Franklin’s Grady Thiels said. “Our guys took their chances and scored some outstanding goals for us.”
Defensively, the Falcons swarmed the field, stymieing the Warriors’ efforts to answer.
“Just about every shot EJ took was deflected,” Ferrand said.
“Our midfielders did a tremendous job of holding them, keeping the guys in front of them and forcing them to take some really tough 30- and 40- yard shots. They got behind us one or two times max the entire match. Our team kept its defensive shape, and anytime you get a clean sheet on EJ, it’s an impressive feat, especially since they’re one of the top teams in Division II. ”
Especially when East Jefferson attempted to link up passes.
“They were pressing the forwards really well and making sure they weren’t able to get good touches on the ball,” Oliver said.
“When they did get good touches on the ball, our defenders were closing down tight, getting physical with them to let them know that they were there and jarring the ball loose.”