The Sideline

Tuesday, September 01, 2015 This Week's Paper

In their first state playoff appearance since 2004, the Wilson Rams outplayed Shorewood for the first 20 minutes but couldn’t produce any goals, ultimately falling 1-0 tonight to the Thunderbirds at Mount Tahoma Stadium.

Shorewood’s Taj McChesney provided the lone strike in the 32nd minute, stealing a ball near the top of the Rams’ box and driving a low shot past diving Wilson keeper Matvey Shitik.

That moment contradicted much of the theme of the first half, as Wilson kept possession in the Thunderbirds’ half for much of the period and outshot Shorewood 5-4. But the Rams got their best look at goal two minutes after halftime, as Munassar Saleh took a pass 25 yards away from goal and delivered a ball on the left to Aarjay Narayan, who drove a strike that was barely tipped over goal by Shorewood keeper Calvin Crawford.

The Thunderbirds then took over, outshooting the Rams 11-1 the rest of the way. Wilson escaped further damage in the 49th minute when midfielder Zach Schneider brilliantly dove to clear out a shot by Abdul Abdulla feet away from the goal after Abdulla moved around Shitik.

But the Rams couldn’t produce any more good looks at goal, and a last-gasp free kick from 25 yards out by Saleh with seven seconds remaining came up short and was stopped by Crawford.

Track district schedule rundown

Here’s a quick look at the district track meet schedule for this weekend, with local teams taking part in meets around the region starting today:

Tacoma Baptist begins their quest at the 2B Bi-District meet this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. at the SW Athletic Complex at Chief Sealth High School in Seattle (8402 30th Ave SW). The Crusaders’ girls took first at the SeaTac 2B meet last week while the boys took second. The Bi-District meet continues on Friday at 2:30 p.m.

Charles Wright will head to North Seattle for the 1A Tri-District prelims tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. at Kings High School’s Woolsey Stadium (19000 Fremont Ave, Shoreline WA). The meet will continue on Saturday at noon.

Wilson, Lincoln, Foss and Mount Tahoma will trek around the South Sound to Shelton High School for the 3A Bi-Districts starting on Friday at 3:40 p.m. and continuing on Saturday at noon.

Bellarmine Prep, Stadium and Curtis will head north to Kent Meridian High School for the 4A Bi-Districts at French Field (256th Street, Kent, WA). The meet starts at 3:30 on Friday and continues on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Quick state soccer tournament primer

The 4A and 3A state soccer tournaments begin today and tomorrow. Here’s a quick look at the schedule and outlook for our two local squads.

Stadium (13-2-1) at Richland (12-3), Tonight, 6 p.m., Richland High School: The Tigers’ reward for a 3-0 blanking of Emerald Ridge on Saturday is a trip to the Tri-Cities to take on Columbia Basin 4A league winner Richland. Not an easy trip, but the Tigers have the weapons to make a run at it. Should they win, Stadium would “host” a second-round state game at a site to be determined on Friday or Saturday.

Shorewood (14-2-2) at Wilson (8-7-2), Wednesday, 7 p.m., Mount Tahoma Stadium: The Rams got a big win over Auburn Mountainview on Saturday to exorcise their recent district playoff demons. Speedy forward Munassar Saleh was electric against the Lions, and he will have to create some plays along with forward Oswald Ramos for Wilson to get past the Thunderbirds.

In their first playoff game in nine years, Mount Tahoma battled Enumclaw to a 1-1 draw for 90 minutes before falling 4-3 in penalty kicks to see their successful season come to an end on Saturday at Highline Memorial Stadium.

As has been the case all season, Kenyan forwards Brian Wambaa and Ian Karanja created scoring chances early and often for the T-Birds with their blazing speed and keen sense of connection up front.

“Me and Ian just play soccer a lot,” Wambaa said. “It just comes out on the field. Other people tell us that. We don’t even think about it, we forget about it sometimes.”

Wambaa almost had an open look in the 12th minute, chipping a shot past the keeper 15 yards from goal before defender Caleb Gwerder cleared it. The Hornets then got on the board a minute later, as Mount Tahoma keeper Jose Reyes deflected Chris Kraemer’s shot to the foot of Chase Olson, who sent it into an open net on the right side for a 1-0 lead.

But the Thunderbirds controlled much of the possession the rest of the half, getting several scoring looks but failing to equalize.

They finally tied it up in the 53rd minute with a bit of skill and luck, as Karanja flicked a ball over keeper Matt Leavens in front of goal before Darwin Wood drove it into his own net.

Karanja had two good looks in the extra-time periods but couldn’t find the net, sending the game to penalty kicks.

Kraemer – who switched into goal for Enumclaw at the start of the penalty-kick portion – dove to save Alexsander Gurmeza’s shot on the Thunderbirds’ second attempt, proving to be the difference for the Hornets. Karanja, Anthony Garibaldi and freshman Roberto Brito all converted penalty kicks for Mount Tahoma.

Mount Tahoma finished in second place in their inaugural season in the Narrows 3A this season, one year after finishing with just one league win in the Narrows 4A.

Munassar Saleh’s goal in extra time gave Wilson a 2-1 win over Auburn Mountainview on Saturday at Auburn Memorial Stadium, punching their ticket to the 3A state tournament.

With the game tied 1-1, Saleh struck less than two minutes into the first golden-goal overtime period for his second goal of the match. The sophomore wing perfectly executed a give-and-go with junior forward Oswald Ramos, taking a pass, outracing the Lions’ defense on the right side and driving a low shot in between the legs of keeper Alex Fausko for the game winner.

“I gave it to (Ramos) and saw the space,” Saleh said. “Oswald is a great player. He saw me and gave it back right away.”

Auburn Mountainview had taken a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute when Emmanuel Saah crossed up a couple of Wilson defenders and slammed a ball into the net from 20 yards out. Saleh helped the Rams begin to create chances on the outside, as his shot in the 25th minute was tipped just over the net by Fausko. But no one was going to stop Saleh’s strike in the 32nd minute, as he took a pass from 35 yards out, switched feet and drove a shot past a diving Fausko and into the right netting to equalize.

With the win the Rams are scheduled to take on Shorewood on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Mount Tahoma Stadium in the first round of the 3A state tournament.

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