After a 1-0 victory over Herndon on April 11, the Robinson boys soccer team received a much-needed dose of reality in the first half of Tuesday night’s game courtesy of senior midfielder Lonnie Carter and the Fairfax Rebels. Carter scored two goals within four minutes of each other in the first half against Robinson, sending the undefeated Rams into halftime trailing 2-0.
“The first half was a little bit of a slap in the face, but we needed that,” said Robinson senior midfielder Eli Hajjar, who scored one of three Robinson second-half goals as the Rams escaped with a 3-2 win over their Concorde District opponents. “I think that we might have gotten a little confident after the win over Herndon. We came out lackluster and that was pretty evident.”
Carter’s first goal came at the 34-minute mark in the first half when he placed the ball into the right side of a wide open net.
Carter scored again with under two minutes left in the half, heading the ball to himself before sending it sailing past Robinson goalkeeper Adrian Dominguez. Carter ran down the left sideline in celebration as the Rams stood stunned on the field.
“They downplayed this team after they played Herndon,” said Robinson head coach Jac Cicala. “You have to respect every opponent that you play and on any given night, anybody can beat anybody.”
“We didn’t see Fairfax as a challenge, which was a mistake, as we found out in the first half,” said sweeper Ben Peek.
<b>CICALA LET</b> his senior leaders do the talking at halftime. The first-year Rams head coach knew that his experienced group didn’t need an impassioned speech.
“Some coaches want to come in and [yell and scream],” he said. “When you have people like [Hajjar and senior defenders Seth Goldman and Ted Farris], they know what to say.”
A different Robinson (4-0-2, 2-0 Concorde) squad took the field in the second half, taking five strong shots against Fairfax (2-6, 0-3) senior goalkeeper Sean Goudarzi, who kept the Rams at bay for the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Hajjar got the Rams on the board at the 55-minute mark, weaving past three Rebel defenders and sending a shot past Goudarzi.
“Once we got the first goal, the whole momentum shifted and we felt that it was just a matter of time before the next one came,” said Hajjar.
The Rams knotted up the score 2-2 minutes later when Alex Makcumbi played a goal kick from Dominguez and found himself with a one-on-one opportunity against Goudarzi.
“I looked up and it was wide open,” said Makcumbi. “I just tried to put it in the back of the net.”
Peek completed the comeback in the 68th minute when Goudarzi prematurely dove for the ball, giving Peek an open shot at the net.
The win sets up Robinson’s April 21 matchup with Westfield as the perceived district championship.
“The bigger the game, the calmer I better be," said Cicala, whose squad will face Westfield, Chantilly and Centreville in a four-day span.