T.C. can’t overcome West Springfield, windy conditions

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T.C. can’t overcome West Springfield, windy conditions
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For a few long moments after a corner kick found the head of Paolo Torres it looked like T.C. Williams was going to tie West Springfield in the final minutes of the match. 

And then the Spartans goalkeeper leapt into the air, deflected the errant ball and solidified a 2-1 lead that would remain unchanged as seconds bled off the clock. Despite two more chances at securing the tying goal, the Titans couldn’t put the ball away to force overtime. 

For T.C., chalk up another disappointing loss. The Titans Manuel Benites had a corner kick assist to a phantom goal scorer the referee couldnt say who got the last touch before the ball found the net giving his squad an early 1-0 lead, but T.C. (1-3-2) saw that margin disappear against the fleet-footed Spartans. West Springfield slipped past Titan defenders twice in the first half, avenging T.C.’s early success on the pitch. 

When the Titans reemerged from the half, they faced undefeated West Springfield’s finesse and a gusting wind. It would have been easy for his players to feel defeated, said Titan head coach Martin Nickley.

West Springfield did a great job of coming back, he said. We were playing into the wind during the second half. [T.C. gave] a good effort, but I could see that [wind] being very discouraging.

Martin gave his squad good overall marks against a 2-0-2 Spartan squad still sitting astride the Patriot District. T.C. had a strong start, but a little luck on the part of West Springfield made all the difference, Martin said. 

We were feeling confident, feeling like we were playing well, he said. We played very strong but felt like we were unlucky to be down coming into the second half. We saw no reason why we couldn’t do it.

Benites recognized the difficulty of playing into the wind and against a tough opposing squad. 

The first half, I think we played really well, and in the second half the wind hurt us a little bit, he said as the sun set behind Parker-Grey stadium. The second half, we just struggled.

T.C. was shocked after the Spartans tied things up at 1-1, he said. When West Springfield scored again, they decided to fight. But they fell short of playing a full match, Benites said. 

We have our moments, he said. We just need that 90-minute game.

The Titans didn’t go into the game unprepared. They knew West Springfield was stingy, expecting the strong defensive struggle that played out on the field, Benites said. But the team needed to capitalize on their early lead, in his estimation. 

We need to take advantage, he said. We just need to put it together.

After their third loss of the early season, Nickley maintains T.C. is fielding a strong squad. They’ve got a core of returning starters, including Alex Mansaray and his four goals on the season. They’ll keep working, he said. 

But it will be hard to forget those last few shots at the net, at least if you ask Benites. 

It was tough to watch that, he said. We need to take this as a lesson. We really have to step it up and pull through the whole game and work hard as a team.

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