It was a big day for Pittsburg soccer.
Free hot dogs, high school bands, dance squads, a special halftime scrimmage, a DJ from U-Rock 99.1 FM and a varsity/JV doubleheader with Carl Junction on Community Appreciation Day.
However, the Bulldogs played the role of party crasher with a 3-1 victory Saturday afternoon, handing Pittsburg its first loss of the season.
“CJ played a strong game today but the major difference is that we had a number of mistakes that by themselves wouldn't have a big issue but they compounded and eventually got us in the end,” Pittsburg head coach Sean Lauderdale said. “The major mistakes from the squad today were mostly playing the ball up and down the middle, not getting to the flanks and not using their abilities to move it upfield.
“With that said, there were a lot of things they did well. The back line held as strong as they could and were pretty effective in clearing out the ball. We just struggled controlling the midfield early on, getting the ball moved up and getting it crossed back over.”
The Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead into intermission, scoring at the 26-minute, 57-second mark after persistent attacks on the Pittsburg goal and at 11:24 on a Paul LeFerbve penalty kick. LeFerbve booted one just past Pittsburg goalkeeper Sullivan Lauderdale, who tipped the ball but not enough to prevent a second Carl Junction goal.
The Dragon attack had their opportunities in the first half and came the closest to a goal on a Danilo Pinheiro shot off the far post. Carl Junction goalkeeper Josiah Dinwiddie denied Pinheiro on another shot.
“We definitely had a few opportunities and I think that's kind of the second piece I saw,” Coach Lauderdale said. “They kind of struggled a little bit with the speed of the game and were having a little bit of a hard time getting things pushed outside with the other team's speed and passing ability. We started getting a little desperate, playing more straight up the middle and that hurt us in the long run.”
Over a stretch of the second half, Pinheiro, Ricky Sanchez, Mayer DeLeon, Kyle Steinmiller and Jose Ayala were attacking the Carl Junction goal.
Carl Junction sophomore Alex Hook tackled Pinheiro in the box and Sanchez put the Purple Dragons on the scoreboard with his successful penalty kick.
With 23 minutes left in the contest, Pittsburg trailed 2-1.
At the 15:17 mark, Joe Morris culminated a pitch-perfect Carl Junction offensive push with the final goal of the game.
Pittsburg dropped to 4-1 on the season after wins over Paola, Fort Scott, College Heights and Coffeyville.
“It's good for us to see that level of competition and to see where some of our limitations have been that we might not have seen as well because we've played some weaker opponents,” Lauderdale said. “That's what we're going to take out of this experience.”
Page 2 of 2 - Despite the loss, it was still a bright, sunny day for soccer with bleachers filled with Pittsburg-Carl Junction partisans and the sidelines outside the fence were populated by more spectators.
“Beautiful day . . . great crowd,” Lauderdale said. “Very enthusiastic. Community appreciation's going great. It's good to see all the community around here. There's a lot of people here. I'm happy to see that.”