Wissahickon edges Upper Dublin, 2-1

UPPER DUBLIN — In sports, a win or loss is at times determined by the ball bouncing in one team’s favor.

On Wednesday at Upper Dublin, Wissahickon’s fortunes continued as it beat the Cardinals, 2-1, for a third-straight game separated by one goal.

As the Trojans continue to edge opponents by slight margins, UD on the other hand has been the team where the ball has bounced wayward as it fell for the second loss in three games by a single digit.

And the sour trends continued for the Upper Dublin boys soccer team almost instantaneously – the Trojans scored just five minutes after the whistle was blown for the start.

Wissahickon’s Shane Fallen whipped in a cross with his favorite left foot that deflected toward goal. UD goalie Jonah Landau pushed the ball to his left, but only as far as Trojan forward Alex Tappen, who was happy to tap in an empty-netter for the early 1-0 lead.

Flip over to the other side of the pitch, and it was Cardinal forward Cole D’Andrea that gave his team the better of chances to knot up the score, but finishing became a hassle all afternoon for UD.

On one effort, D’Andrea dribbled down the right flank and unleashed a howler that sailed high and caught the uprights of the right field goal post at SPARK field in the seventh minute.

As play continued, Upper Dublin was having difficulty figuring out Wissahickon’s offside trap. D’Andrea, Alex Demchick and Lou Mayers continued to make angled runs toward Wiss goalkeeper John Carrozza, but each time the whistle was blown.

Then, in the 20th minute, matters would get worse for the Cardinals as the Trojans struck for a 2-0 score line.

Carrozza hit a goal kick skyward that was met around half field by a Tappen flick-on before being fed into the path of Wissahickon stalwart Cole Kropnick.

Kropnick ran off the ball and found just enough space behind the Upper Dublin defense before beating Landau with a shot from the instep of his right boot.

The first half came to a close with Upper Dublin down at home, in a 2-0 hole and looking for answers.

Whatever UD coach Rick Schmidt said to his boys happened to work, apparently, because the Cardinals came out flying in the second half.

It all started during the 42nd minute when Wissahickon defenders had trouble handling a corner by UD’s Josh Franklin.

Eventually the ball would drop for Demchick, who whiffed on a shot that dribbled across the six in the path of Bart Scherpbier. Scherpbier opened up his hips and finished for a goal, cutting the Wissahickon lead to 2-1.

The Cardinals were back in business and continued to dial up the pressure on the Trojans, who found themselves reeling in the second half.

UD continued its efforts at a tying goal, taking to an air attack on the Wissahickon defense.

The Cardinals’ best chance for a 2-2 result happened in the 67th minute, when Nick Browndorf sent in a corner and D’Andrea rose up for a header that was going upper 90 — right where Wissahickon’s Fallen was defending.

Fallen, who was doing his job as a defender on corners, hugged the near post and headed the ball clear — much to the relief of the Wissahickon bench.

“I saw the ball and I just jumped as high as I could and put my head through it,’ Fallen said. “Just like coach always says, ‘ be ready for it.”

Fallen and his Trojans (7-1-0, 5-1-0) continued to absorb the pressure from the Cardinals and about 84 minutes later, found themselves going home with three points against an SOL American rival.

“We scrambled around and made a game that was very comfortable at halftime very difficult and we’re pleased to get away with a win,’ Wissahickon coach Stuart Malcom said.

“They’re doing enough for us to get these close wins, but one of these days it’s going to catch up to us and we’d rather try and resolve that and try and cut that out before we end up with a result we don’t particularly like.’

Upper Dublin (3-3-2, 3-2-3) won’t be pleased with the result, but a gallant effort in the second half and a strategy change almost turned around a game that seemed out of reach 40 minutes in.

“The idea was we tried to play the ball on the ground and it wasn’t working today, so we kind of went some old school high school — kick it long, chase it, put pressure on them,’ Schmidt said.

“We put them under pressure and it seemed to work, but we just couldn’t quite get that second goal.

“Unfortunately, close games — our last three games — have all been really close and we haven’t managed to win any one of them. We still need to continue to work and work as a team. Hopefully we can turn things around.’

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