By GERARDO RECINOS
It seemed as if even the weather knew what was coming on Friday, Jan. 29. As the referee’s first whistle sounded, the rain fell, and the Gaels struck.
Alhambra’s 4-0 defeat at the hands of Dublin wasn’t something they could stop. You can’t stop a team that has rolled their way through the league with ease like Dublin has.
The Gaels have only allowed four goals in Diablo Foothill Athletic League play, while Alhambra has only scored four.
“They have two guys who play for the [San Jose] Earthquakes’ academy, so how do you stop them?” Rory Gentry said. “You just got to try and contain them. They’re going to get their goals.”
When Gentry says “get their goals,” he says it from experience. He isn’t just speaking in hyperbole.
Over the past two seasons in four games, the Gaels have scored 18 goals. Alhambra hasn’t been able to get one across the line against the Gaels.
Truth be told the midfielders did a good job playing physically against a team with plenty of creativity going forward. Senior midfielder Ali Amin stretched the Bulldog defense, but in the first half Dublin was fairly contained.
They knocked on the door plenty of times but failed to get in. Dublin broke down the Alhambra defense on a flicked on header that found junior Yousef Hamidi.
It was more a lock of communication than any flashy link up play that scratched the heavily beaten down Bulldog armour.
Alhambra really only had a single chance in the first half, a 25-yard free kick by junior Dillon Lee that the captain fired high and wide.
Senior Navid Khamush piled it on when he chipped Alhambra senior Jose Diaz. The keeper was caught in two minds, and didn’t get help from his center backs. Khamush used his pace to beat the Alhambra keeper to the ball.
The Bulldogs didn’t so much fall apart as they were ripped apart in the second half.
Khamush bagged his brace on a solo effort down the wings. He beat Victor Ortega for pace and fizzed his shot past the keeper to put Dublin up 3-0.
Less than two minutes later Dublin struck again. Khamush struck a dipping free kick from 35 yards out, but Diaz had a mare and spilled the shot. The usually steady Diaz was shocked when Dublin sophomore Cole Heinbaugh followed up the shot and fired it home from close range.
Diaz was substituted after that, with Gentry perhaps thinking it kinder to not allow one mistake to be more damaging to the psyche of his keeper. Diaz was also nursing a nagging injury, according to Gentry.
“I thought we played them very strong,” said Gentry, noting that despite missing five players, and losing Hunter Bradford to a possible concussion earlier in the game, the players on the pitch held on well.
“I’m just pleased, because it could’ve been a lot worse. And from what I saw, I think we’re playing better soccer,” he said.