ABOVE: East's Michael Lopez (#11) scored the lone goal in Saturday's boys' soccer match against West Warwick.
by Charlie Adams, TSM Writer
(CRANSTON, RI) - The Cranston East boys’ soccer team got their season going on Saturday, going head-to-head with the West Warwick Wizards. Despite Thunderbolt Head Coach Grenier being a West Warwick resident and former coach of the Wizards, he gave no hometown favors as the ‘Bolts fought to a 1-0 shutout victory.
The Thunderbolts went 8-7-3 last season, dropping their playoff game against rival Cranston West in a tight 2-1 defeat. In their lone meeting last season with the Wizards, they fell 3-2. Despite losing 2nd-team All-Stater Carlos Andrade following his graduation last school year, and not having Nadeem Chaudhry (injury) and Leo Rodriguez (personal) available for this match, they weren’t phased as they got the better of the Wizards this time around.
The ‘Bolts challenged early, with a shot that bounced over Wizard goalkeeper Daniel Alvarez in West Warwick’s goal but was miraculously saved by another West Warwick defender. A corner kick from Christian Gomez nearly opened up the scoring but again was saved from a header by West Warwick’s defenders, bailing out their goalie for a second time.
With 2:08 left in the first half, East found the back of the net with a Michael Lopez direct kick from about thirty yards out. Shortly after, a Gomez shot narrowly missed right, leaving the ‘Bolts lead at 1-0 going into halftime.
East continued to challenge the Wizards with scoring opportunities. Fullback Braidin Shaw, among others, showed good defense to keep the lead intact.
Luck was on East’s side, as West Warwick’s Christian Bernardo got as close as you can to scoring, getting past ‘Bolt goalkeeper David White inside the goal box before completely missing the net with his shot.
Following a no-call on a play that forced East’s Aaron Morales out of the game, the White was given a yellow card for arguing the call. This forced Christian Gomez into goal for the last five minutes.
Despite questionable refereeing throughout the contest, East persisted. Gomez held his own in goal and was able to help complete the shutout, 1-0, to give the Thunderbolts a win to start off the season.
The ‘Bolts are back in action on Tuesday night, hosting a strong North Smithfield squad at 6:30 pm.
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