Billy Owens / For the Boston Globe
Despite playing three men short and trailing with less than 10 minutes left, West Roxbury (1-0) was able to pull off a 3-2 victory in boys' soccer against South Boston (0-1) Tuesday afternoon at Saunders Stadium.
Sophomore forward Sam Kifl dazzled the Knights defensemen as he scored all three goals for his Raider team in the second half, with two coming late to clinch the win.
“It felt awesome scoring those goals,” Kifl said. “The game was intense all the way through and I kept telling my teammates to never give up. I was trying to keep them optimistic all game.”
After a slow start for both teams, South Boston struck first with a penalty kick from senior captain Freddy Espinoza 24 minutes into the game. The Knights were then able to hold off a Raider assault and took a 1-0 lead into halftime.
“Scoring the first goal of the game was exciting and it feels great to be back,” Espinoza said. “We just weren’t able to hold on in the end.”
Following an aggressive start to the second half by the Raiders, Kifl’s first goal came similarly to Espinoza’s, on a penalty kick in the 48th minute after a costly mistake by the Knights defense.
“That was a turning point for us,” Kifl said. “Even though they scored again, after our goal we finally got comfortable out there.”
The momentum shifted again less than five minutes later when South Boston’s Yakub Mohammed scored for a 2-1 lead, with a great assist by fellow midfielder Tuan Nguyen.
The Knights remained in control until Kifl, amazingly, scored twice in less than two minutes: in the 73d minute, then with the clincher in the 75th. Both shots went past the outstretched arms of Knights goalie Terrell Rogers.
Both goals were assisted by defender Emmanuel JeanCharle, who made key defensive plays before tracking down both balls and passing to a quick-footed Kifl.
West Roxbury coach Dan MacDonald was very happy with his team’s resilience and first win of the season, yet seemed even happier just to be out on the field coaching.
“We played great today,” he said. “Even playing down a few guys we still competed out there. It just feels good to be back out on the field.”
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