By Andrew Lang
Herald Staff Writer
SNOHOMISH – Redmond coach Lacy Wilkinson knew his side had to play its best to leave Snohomish with a win, and Redmond played nearly flawless.
Snohomish allowed a goal 10 minutes in, Redmond scored twice within a three-minute period early in the second half and the Panthers suffered a season-ending 4-0 loss at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“We put together a really good game tonight,” Wilkinson said. “We’ve had times within games that we have put this together. We’ve had moments we have done this, but we haven’t done it for long periods. We put them on their heels a little bit and didn’t let up.”
After a state tournament-opening match when goals came in bunches and possession heavily tilted in Snohomish’s favor, the Panthers were left chasing Redmond throughout their state quarterfinal matchup.
“I can say with confidence that I don’t think we settled into a rhythm of possession the entire match,” Panthers coach Matt Raney said. “Hats off to them. They kept the ball and moved the ball well. When you spend that much time chasing, when you do get the ball, you spend a lot of time panicking, rather than settling in.”
Facing a stingy Redmond defense and an attack that methodically built and hardly lost possession, Raney said his Panthers needed to be perfect Friday night.
Pressure came from the opening kickoff.
Redmond (16-4-0) was rewarded for its crisp early passing and patient buildup in the 10th minute when Martin Dadzie gave the Mustangs a 1-0 lead. Dadzie, from the left, dribbled into open space and let a low shot fly 15 yards out from the middle of the field. His shot tucked just inside the near post. Snohomish goalkeeper Michael Herrera got a hand on the ball, but was unable to knock it out.
While Redmond’s attack created several first-half scoring chances, the Panthers (15-4-1) struggled to posses. Arguably Snohomish’s best look came late in the first half when Conner Smith stole the ball from a Mustangs defender before working a give-and-go with Owen Fielder. Smith got in behind Redmond’s backline, but he was forced into a tough angle, and Redmond goalkeeper Ricardo Escalante easily saved Smith’s hard-struck shot.
Snohomish’s comeback chances took a precipitous drop 12 minutes into the second half.
In the 59th minute, Redmond’s Reece Wiyrick blasted a free kick from 45 yards out. Herrera charged forward to catch the ball mid-air, but the ball slipped through his hands and landed in front of the Panthers’ goal. A scrum followed, and the Mustangs’ Victor Araujo poked the ball into the back of the net to give Redmond a 2-0 advantage.
Minutes later, that lead grew to 3-0.
This time Redmond’s Jacen Stein received a cross from Angel Hernandez wide open in front of the Panthers’ goal. He easily put the ball past Herrera, and with 28 minutes to play Snohomish’s semifinal hopes had nearly dissolved.
Wiyrick capped the Mustang’s big night, extending Redmond’s lead to 4-0 in the 64th minute, beating Herrera with shot in the upper-right corner of goal off a penalty kick.
“I told the boys before the game, ‘You are going to start hitting on all cylinders, and when you do, you will be shocked,’” Wilkinson said. “They are a really good team. This was not an easy game. We knew coming into this game we were going to have a battle and be really on top of it.”
The Mustangs will next play in the semifinals at 2 p.m. May 25 against Roosevelt at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.