On a day when many Manhattan residents were displaced or lost belongings due to flooding in the town, Manhattan High boys soccer coach Frank Alonso couldn’t solely focus on his team’s loss to Derby.
“Losing a soccer game is bad and frustrating, but at the end of the day, it’s not as bad a day as some people in the community have had,” Alonso said.
MHS (1-1) and Derby were deadlocked at 1 when regulation ended in the first round of the Titan Classic in Wichita on Monday. Soon after, Derby won a penalty kick shootout, 4-2, to hand the Indians their first loss of the season.
It capped a weird day.
While none of the MHS soccer families were truly affected by the flooding, a few players were late to school for the bus ride. MHS arrived at the field in Wichita 20 minutes prior to kick-off.
“Just a lot of factors, but that’s not an excuse for not playing as well as we should’ve, so it is what it is,” Alonso said.
The game was even, Alonso said. Each team took eight shots.
Derby scored on a free kick in the 30th minute. MHS answered in the 60th minute when junior midfielder Carter Wiens slotted a penalty kick.
Alonso said he was pleased with how his team appeared to get stronger as the game wore on into the later stages. However, the Indians couldn’t net that deciding goal to secure a victory.
Alonso said he’d give his team a “C” grade for its performance through two games. As a head coach, he said he takes full responsibility for that.
In his eyes, there’s a positive.
“The talent is there, the work ethic is there,” he said.
The frustrating part, Alonso said, is that his boys know they’re good. That’s not the issue.
They’re just not playing as well as they should be, he said.
“I think that we know, as good of a team as that is that we played today, we’re better than them and we didn’t show it,” Alonso said.
MHS boys soccer dubs the week of the Titan Classic, “hell week.” The team will spend 16 hours on a bus going to and from Wichita.
MHS won this tournament last season, and in Alonso's experience, teams who put up with the week's grind come away stronger because of it.
The Indians head back there Thursday for a game against Wichita East. Depending on how they do, they’ll return Saturday.
“We get a chance to make it right in a few days, so that’s what we’ll do,” Alonso said.
For now, they’ll focus on the upcoming two days. Alonso said he doesn’t know where the squad will end up practicing if it continues to rain. His boys could find themselves in a gym or on a field that’s not flooded or too muddy. They could always watch game film, as well.
But on the same day Manhattan is dealing with flooding, Alonso didn’t want to harp on his team’s mistakes or go over each and every bit of the game because, well, it’s a game.
“It’s really in poor taste to talk about soccer on a day like today,” he said.