Despite leading by two goals midway through the second half, the Manhattan High boys’ soccer team lost its tournament opener 3-2 to Garden City at the Titan Classic in Wichita Monday.
Garden City (2-0) scored two goals within 90 seconds of each other to tie the game, then scored a third in the 76th minute to take its first lead and earn the victory.
“To say that we gift-wrapped them that game would be an understatement,” MHS head coach Frank Alonso said. “It’s a difficult one to take. I would put it as one of our worst losses that I remember in a long time.”
Prior to the meltdown, the Indians (1-1) had been in control the whole way, taking a 1-0 lead to halftime after a goal by Alex Dzewaltowski. The second goal by Peter Maier came quickly to start the second half, giving the Indians room for error.
But it wasn’t quite enough.
After allowing Garden City’s back-to-back goals, Manhattan was never the same, getting outplayed the rest of the way after such a promising start.
“The good thing is — we did play well for big stretches,” Alonso said. “It’s easy to really concentrate on how bad we were in the last 20 minutes and that we gave away a game we had no business losing, but the fact is, we did play well and we have another game tomorrow.
“It’s going to hurt until we play tomorrow, but we need to take out our frustration on the next team we see.”
That team will be Wichita Trinity, which lost to Wichita North to open the tournament. The game is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
In the meantime, Alonso said he expects to have a talk with the team about learning to deal with adversity whenever it arises.
“The boys are going to have to learn from it,” he said. “We talked about leadership at the beginning of the year and that’s something we are continuing to work on and it’s a work in progress.”
The Indians out-shot the Buffaloes 9-4 in the game. Garden City didn’t even have a shot on goal until the second half, but managed to score three goals in four attempts.
“It was like having a three-touchdown lead and losing in the last five minutes of the game,” he said. “That’s what it feels like, so it’s really difficult. And it was a long bus ride home.”
Jonathan Turley and Eric Gray each had assists for the Indians, who are playing for fifth place in the consolation side of the bracket.
“That was a shock that we lost that game,” Alonso said. “We never should have lost that game. They were good, but we were so dominant.
“It was just a meltdown — I can’t even explain it.”