WARWICK —The Central Falls boys soccer team went to Bishop Hendricken High School on Saturday afternoon and defeated the Hawks, 3-1.
Christion Restrepo led the visistors with a pair of assists.
“Christion played really great,” Central Falls coach Carl Africo said. “All of our captains did a great job. We’ve got some great senior leadership on this team. And they did a great job of keeping the momentum going and being unselfish.”
“Christion could have gone in and tried to score those goals, but he did the right thing,” Africo continued. “He drew the defense and made passes across the box and he got two great assists doing that. Christion is one of our leaders right now and I think people are going to start to see. He spent a couple years in the AYSO, but people are going to see that this kid is the real deal and they should probably give him some consideration at the end of the season for All-New England because he’s going to be that type of player for us this year.”
The three Warrior goals came from three different scorers in Juan Blandon, Leidson Gomes and Lester Jimenez.
“We’re going to be dangerous this year,” Africo said. “We’re going to be in our games. But we’ve still got some learning to do.”
“The one thing is, we’re not going to struggle from where they come from,” Africo added. “We’re not going to be a team that you can just take something away because we’re going to find something else. We’ve got a lot of guys that can go both directions and put the ball in the cage.”
All three of Central Falls’ goals came in the first half, and then the Warriors went scoreless in the second frame.
“We had a really good first half,” Africo said. “The first 40 minutes, we put three in the net. And then, in the second half, we showed our growing pains. We’ve got some young guys out there that are still learning how to keep their shape and not do too much to stay within the game.”
Doing the goalkeeping for the Warriors was Junior Rosa and he was exceptional all game while encouraging his teammates to keep pressing Hendricken.
When the Warriors went up 1-0, and then 2-0, Rosa told his teammates to treat the game as if it was still scoreless.
“I said ‘0-0,’ so we can keep it up and good thing we did,” Rosa said.
And the keeper was happy to help the team to its first victory of the season, which came against what is usually a very strong Hendricken team.
“I feel good because last year we didn’t beat them and it was challenging,” Rosa explained.
And Rosa believes Central Falls has what it takes to make a postseason run this year, something it didn’t do last season.
“I think we can do well this year,” Rosa said. “We can do better.”
The Warriors scored their first goal, seven minutes into the contest when Blandon used his left foot and booted a bullet into the back of the net from 30 yards out.
Next, with 15:19 remaining in the opening frame, Central Falls upped its advantage to 2-0 after Gomes accepted a cross pass from Restrepo and fired a rocket into the net.
Then, Central Falls increased its buffer to 3-0 with 8:16 left in the frame when Jimenez found the back of the cage following another cross from Restrepo.
The Hawks inched within 3-1, eight minutes into the second half when Mike Hanlon, a senior captain, scored on a penalty kick after his teammate Brady McNamara was tripped by a Central Falls defender on his way to the goal.
Hendricken stepped up its attack in the second while the Warriors started to play more defensively.
“Hendricken put a lot of pressure on us coming back and they put one in the net,” Africo said.
Africo made an adjustment and went back to a more aggressive approach which paid off in the end.
“At that point we could’ve shriveled up and just gone into a shell,” Africo said. “At that point, I thought my best option was actually to get more offensive again. Because defensive concepts are tough to learn, especially here in CF because half the team is Cape Verdean and half the team is Latino, and we have two Italian coaches.
“So, sometimes things get lost in translation. So, I went to what they were comfortable with. They were comfortable attacking, so I went with that. That’s the only way we relieved the pressure.”
“Hendricken did a great job in that second forty just putting pressure,” Africo reiterated. “The wind doesn’t help. When you’re playing into the wind you’ve got to keep it down. You’ve got to be more technical and I thought Hendricken was the better side in the second half at doing that. But I’m happy to get out of here with three points. We didn’t accomplish that at East Providence.”
Central Falls produced 19 shots on goal at East Providence during its opener, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
“So, at least they got the job done this time,” Africo said. “We’ll get ready. We got a short turnaround. We’ve got Cumberland on Monday and then Moses Brown on Friday.
The Warriors improve their regular season record to 1-0-1 while the Hawks fall to 1-1.