In the first 20 minutes of the game, everything worked for the Cape Henlopen boys soccer team in its win against Indian River.
The Vikings dominated the ball.
Inside the first minute, senior fullback Tyler Malloy delivered a corner to the back post. The ball found the forehead of sophomore midfielder Zach Gelof.
Just 48 seconds in and the ball had found the back of the net.
“We have a larger team, a couple tall players especially Zach Gelof, who is good in the air,” Malloy said. “We’ll try and pinpoint him, and I have one of the bigger foots. I’ll just try and swing one in.”
Twenty more minutes of ball control later, Malloy had another corner opportunity.
Flinging his left foot, he curled this corner to the near post, and Ulysis Slagle volleyed it in for the 2-0 lead.
On that play, Malloy said the smaller player ran near post and just “caused havoc” to get the ball in the net.
“(Slagle) made a good run and put one away for us,” Malloy said.
But slowly, the game inched toward favoring the Indians despite the 2-1 loss.
“It was a little bit more discipline in the midfield,” IR head coach Steve Kilby said. “We were disjointed in the midfield. Of course, midfield play doesn’t give up two goals on corner kicks.”
Miscommunication and a missed clear got River (2-4) back into the game against Cape (7-0) in the 27th minute.
Indian River’s sophomore Gardo Velasquez delivered a free kick into a dangerous part of the box. The spot just in between the goalkeeper coming out and defenders moving back and the ball ricocheted into the Vikings’ net for an own goal.
From then on, the play was evened out.
The Indians forced just one challenging save out of starting goalie Brent Hochrein when Johan de Jesus Cordoba curled a free kick on net in the 36th minute.
After Cape head coach Patrick Kilby switched goalies at half — a normal rotation this season — senior Noah Clifton was much busier with five saves in the second half.
But as much as River pressed and kept the ball in Cape’s end, the Indians didn’t have one final pass.
“They had three dangerous players going forward — Drew (Mulcahy), Tyler (Malloy) and Jack (Ashby),” junior Mac Smith said. “I thought we figured them out and could have slipped a couple in — had some free kick opportunities. … We battled. It was a good game and they’re a good team.”
River had eight shots in the second half and allowed just four to Cape.
But the entire atmosphere of the game changed in the 64th minute when Cape’s senior attacking midfielder and most dynamic player, Jack Ashby, received a second yellow card, meaning he will miss the game against Sussex Tech on Thursday.
While an explanation was not given to Cape head coach Patrick Kilby at first, after receiving a yellow card himself, he got an explanation.
Ashby went hard into a tackle on a yellow card and committed a foul — the game at this point become more physical as Cape tried to hold off IR from equalizing. The yellow card, however, was for language after he allegedly was responding to someone along the fence.
As Patrick Kilby was asking for an explanation, the play switched fields and Cape player was brought down from behind, causing him to “kind of go crazy.”
There was no card on the foul, and Patrick Kilby expressed his frustrations with what he thought was inconsistency in some calls.
That being said, Patrick Kilby said his players do get “handsy” in the defensive third of the field. It’s something they’ve been working on but it’s his staff’s job to make sure the players understand.
“We are down a man, down a starter and down a captain going into the Tech game, which doesn’t serve us well,” Patrick Kilby said. “We’ll move pieces around. We’ll adapt but we shouldn’t have to.”
Patrick Kilby said Indian River could have easily won the game in the second half with all of the fouls committed. What should have been a moment to remember for the first win against his father turned into a tactical nightmare against Sussex Tech.
Sitting at 2-4, the Indians could have really used the win, but with their other three losses coming to Sallies, Caesar Rodney and Charter, all Steve Kilby can do is get his team ready for the division games.
“The rest of the year, everything is a must-win game,” he said.
On Twitter/Instagram: @ByRyanMarshall