Photos and story Oliver Lazenby
Even with a strong defense by Alex Mercado and goalkeeping Anthony Persse, Blaine was unable to win against Lynden in its first game after spring break on April 10.
Blaine nearly matched Lynden in shots-on-goal and ball possession, but Lynden’s fast, long-ball offense kept creating scoring opportunities for the Lions, resulting in a 2-0 loss for Blaine.
The loss makes Blaine’s record 4–3–1, and 3–2–1 in conference games.
“I think communication is one of the biggest keys for keeping our mental game straight as well as keeping our physical game in line, and I think today we lacked it,” Persse said. “I think coming off spring break took a toll on how we played the game mentally.”
Lynden had a 2–1–4 record overall going into the game and was hoping to defeat Blaine for its first conference win.
Lynden took the lead in the 17th minute when Jose Rios scored on a long pass from Lynden’s midfield.
With Lynden in the lead, Blaine played aggressively. Alieu Diaw and Miguel Magallon were a constant menace to Lynden’s defense but their play-making and shots couldn’t find
Blaine’s aggressive offense left some Lynden midfielders open when the Lions inevitably regained possession and pitched long passes toward the Borderites’ goal.
Blaine’s Evan Potter took a shot on an assist from Magallon minutes before half time that Lynden keeper Wyatt Johnson barely saved with a dive.
The Lions got two shots on their next possession: Persse stopped the first and defender Alex Mercado stopped the second on the goal line.
“I have to say, my defense today was strong. Especially Alex Mercado,” said Blaine head coach Gio Quesada.
Diaw, a leader for Blaine, told his team to play the second half like the score was 0–0.
That may have worked for a while, but Lynden’s Austin Anderson scored his team’s second goal, a header into the net off a corner kick, in the 53rd minute to settle the game.
“If Lynden didn’t score the second goal, I don’t know what would have happened,” Quesada said. “In the second half the team lost a little bit of gas. The difference between us and the biggest schools is the size of the bench.”
Persse had 12 saves in the loss, which was Blaine’s first since March 22. Blaine’s had a strong season so far and odds are the Borderites will make the postseason.
Blaine’s next game will be against Sedro Woolley (6-2-1) at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 12 at Pipeline Fields.