Three District 5-5A games, all losses, and not a single goal scored.
It’s a harsh reality for Ryan, whose 2-0 loss to previously winless Lewisville on Friday has the Raiders fighting an uphill battle very early in the district schedule.
Head coach Robert Lamon remained steadfastly optimistic but admitted the recent skid weighs hard on his players.
“That bears down on them hard, and I know that,” Lamon said. “We gave up two goals early, which affected our will, but even after those goals, our desire to continue to play hard was still there. Where we need to improve is taking our possessions and moving the ball from the middle third of the field to the attacking third to set up shots. We were doing those in the preseason; we just have to get sharper at it.”
Ryan (8-6-2, 0-3 district) had been outscored 4-0 in its first two district games, but there was optimism on Friday since the Fighting Farmers (9-5-1, 1-2) were just as snake bit offensively. Lewisville was outscored 5-1 in its first two district losses.
That optimism was tested practically from the opening horn, when Ryan’s junior midfielder and primary scoring threat, Fabian Zuniga, went down with an ankle injury just over two minutes into the game.
Zuniga did not return and the Farmers had a field day from there, scoring twice inside the opening 17 minutes off goals from Keoni Morris and Riley Mills. For the game, Lewisville outshot Ryan 13-6.
Morris got Lewisville rolling when he punched in a short header off a 20-yard pass from teammate Jesse Paniagua with 30:49 left in the first half. With 23:06 left in the half, Tluang Hmung’s throw-in found Riley Mills, who was standing in the middle of a scrum in front of the goal. Mills flicked the ball past Ryan keeper Jorge Muniz.
The Raiders didn’t get their first shot on goal until 10 minutes before intermission. Marc Orozco also had two straight corner kicks in the final 30 seconds of the half, but Ryan couldn’t convert.
Lewisville opened the second half and immediately set up shop on Ryan’s side of the field, but the Raiders managed to hold the Farmers scoreless the rest of the way despite giving up six more shots on goal. One of those was from Morris, who barely missed netting his second goal with 16 minutes remaining.
“We didn’t have a lot of quality opportunities tonight,” Lamon said. “Even though we gave up two goals, we are still happy with the progression of the team.”