The OSAA soccer season got underway for the Celts at home against the Century High School Jaguars on Monday, Aug. 28, and it looked like both teams had some pent up energy ready for the season.
It was a physical and emotional game that finished with the Celtics and Jaguars tied in both goals (2) and red cards (1).
The 2-2 end snapped the Celtics 14-game regular season win streak, which began on Oct. 22, 2021. Their 17-game undefeated streak in the regular season remains intact.
While the finish wasn’t what head coach Miguel Camarena and the Celtics were looking for, he was happy with how the team looked as it integrates a lot of new faces into the mix.
“We’re happy to see that we created so many opportunities to score and the team got composed even with one less player for almost 20 minutes,” Camarena said.
As those new faces come in to fill the void left by graduated seniors like Hudson Brunk, Owen Alston and Johann Sanchez Singh, it was some familiar faces from last season making key contributions as well.
Freshmen no longer, sophomores Ryder Allen and Fernando Zepeda were huge pieces to the offensive flow for the Celtics. Allen scored the first goal of the game 11 minutes in after Zepeda drove the ball deep in the box and collided with Century goalkeeper Samuel Byrne-Amaya.
It was one of three times McNary players made contact with Byrne-Amaya. Though none of that seemed to phase the Century keeper as he made key save after key save to keep the Jaguars close.
But it perhaps could have been a contributing factor to the other physicality and animosity on the field. Multiple times officials had to warn players about the contact or talk, and the McNary fans were even warned for an inappropriate comment.
Both red cards came later in the second half.
First, McNary’s Isaac Ceja was sent off with 21:33 left to play. The Celtics held a 2-1 lead at the time, but the ensuing penalty kick from Century’s Renato Beltrán tied the game.
Despite being a man down for nearly 10 minutes, that penalty kick was the only goal that the Celtics gave up in the time.
“We did a really good job but we made a couple mistakes that cost us two goals,” Camarena said. “But having one less player is always hard but I think in general we’re happy with what happened.”
And being a man down couldn’t have been easy on the legs. A number of players went down with cramps, despite the temperatures dropping, but it was the high heat from a couple weeks ago that could explain it.
“We couldn’t do our fitness that we do every year just because of the heat,” Camarena said. “Hopefully in two more weeks it should be 100%.”
The Celtics are back on the pitch on Tuesday at McDaniel High School at 7 p.m.