Kellis battles back from two-goal deficit, falls late to Paradise Valley 3-2

Sophomore Gavin Palomo scored twice in loss
By: 
DARRELL JACKSON, Glendale Star Editor

PHOTOS BY DARRELL JACKSON

Kellis sophomore Gavin Palomo battles with Paradise Valley’s Henry Taylor for a loose ball in the first half Dec. 4 at Kellis High School.

 

Kellis sophomore Carlos Acevedo chases down Paradise Valley’s Thierry Byishimo as he races down the sideline.

Kellis sophomore Gavin Palomo dribbles the ball in the middle of the field in the first half against Paradise Valley Dec. 4 at Kellis High School.

 

“Even though we are a young team, we are working hard and I think these kids are ahead of schedule. Do I think this team is a playoff team right now? Absolutely.” -- KELLIS BOYS SOCCER HEAD COACH JONATHAN PERDOMO

Facing their biggest test on the new season, Kellis boys soccer head coach Jonathan Perdomo knew his team faced a big test against Paradise Valley Dec. 4 at Kellis High School.

His young team, starting only two seniors, faced a playoff team from last season in the Trojans and battled back from a two-goal deficit, before losing 3-2. Kellis lost a play-in game last season and has not made the playoffs since 2010.

“This was a huge test, to see what we had early on this season,” Perdomo said. “Even falling down two early, these kids never stopped battling and probably should have gotten the victory, but we will learn from this.”

Kellis came out and opened the game a little flat as Paradise Valley pressed on offense early, getting  a couple of scoring opportunities but the Kellis defense was able to keep the Trojans to only two shots on senior goalkeeper Alfredo Perez.

“We were a little flat early and, give Paradise Valley credit, they came out and pressed us early,” Perdomo said. “But with my young team, we keep battling and they never stopped pushing early.”

Kellis had scoring opportunities early, when Gavin Palomo took a pass from Mckinley Ruiz down the sideline with 23 minutes left in the first half, but Palomo fired the shot just over the goal.

Five minutes later, Paradise Valley finally got on the board when Henry Taylor fired a corner kick in front that bounced off a Kellis defender, then off Paradise Valley's Edgar Ayala and past goalkeeper Perez to put the Trojans up 1-0.

“That really was an unlucky one that just got past (Perez),” Perdomo said.

Three minutes later, Luis Gamez took a free kick from 30 yards out and fired a high shot toward the net, where Thierry Byishimo leapt over two Kellis defenders and headed the ball into the back of the net; the Trojans were up 2-0.

Kellis would get the deficit to one just before halftime when Emanuel Robles took a free kick from 30 yards out and sailed the ball just over the outstretched fingers of Paradise Valley goalkeeper Erubiel Martinez.

Just over two minutes later, Robles scored again when he took a pass in front, 25 yards out, spun and fired a shot just past a diving Martinez and the Cougars tied the game at two at halftime.

Perdomo knew his team had to turn it up in the second half and told his team at halftime to come out and pressure on the offensive side of the ball.

“I just told them to come out and play their game and pressure on offense as much as they could,” Perdomo said. “We came out strong and had some good chances, but just couldn't get one in the net.”

Palomo had a chance 10 minutes into the second half but fired a shot over the net while Espoir Ntezeyombi took a corner kick in front and tipped it towards the net but Rodriguez made a diving save to keep the game tied.

With just over 19 minutes left in the game, Byishimo got the ball 10 yards out in front and fired a shot but Perez made a diving save. As Perez tried to get up, the rebound bounced over to Taylor who tipped in into the back of the net for what proved to be the game winner.

“We had chances and we kept battling,” Perdomo said. “Having a young team, we never stopped fighting and had chances but couldn't get a bounce in our favor. The kids kept fighting and we will learn from this and continue to get better.”
As the Cougars work toward a playoff spot for the first time in eight years, Perdomo believes his team is headed in the right direction.

“Even though we are a young team, we are working hard and I think these kids are ahead of schedule,” Perdomo said. “Do I think this team is a playoff team right now? Absolutely.”

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