Miller, Spurrier, Trojans dump Demons
Fairfield forward Brayden Miller was getting a little annoyed.
On Thursday night at Fairfield High School, during first-half action, Miller kept dribbling by Washington Demon defenders, only to have his shots stopped by the goal post or Washington’s 6-foot-3 goalie Thomas Zimmer.
“It got a little irritating,” Miller said. “And the irritation built up. But in soccer, you have to keep moving on until you get it.”
He kept moving on, and he got it — twice, in fact.
With 9:32 left in the game, and the score tied 1-1, Miller took a perfect feed from Trojan forward Jordan Guezimane, who was near the sideline.
“I was in the middle of the field running and I knew Jordan would be passing it to me,” Miller said. “Then once I had it, it was one-on-one with the keeper. I just needed a simple finish.”
Simple to Miller, complicated to Washington.
Miller faked once, faked again, then booted the 5-yard shot cleanly into the net.
Up 2-1 with 2:48 to play, Miller took a 20-yard on-the-money pass from defender Leone Gichure-Marira, and Miller had 25 yards of grass between him and the keeper.
But between Miller and goalie Zimmer was one Washington defender.
Miller got to within 7 yards of the net, dribbled left, right, then left and the Demon defender, completely befuddled, fell to the grass.
“It was a really good pass I received from Leone,” Miller said. “That pass opened me up to the defense, and I was able to get around the defender — and then make the simple finish.”
Zimmer is a good goalie but he had no chance: Miller’s footwork is outstanding.
“Brayden was having an awesome game,” Gichure-Marira said. “He was great the whole time. He’s a playmaker. He can finish.”
Miller finished, scoring again from close range and, soon after, the Trojans walked off the field 3-1 victors.
The win upped Fairfield’s Southeast Conference record to 2-0, 2-1 overall.
“Overall, we didn’t play our best,” said Trojan center-back Eric Swan. “We didn’t start off well in either half.”
“But,” said teammate Shawn Spurrier, “in the second half of each half, we picked it up, created chances and played better.”
It was Swan and Spurrier who combined on an astonishing, jaw-dropping play with 11:22 left in the first half which gave Fairfield a 1-0 lead.
Fairfield had been awarded a free kick 47 yards from Washington’s net. Per instructions from Trojan head coach Felisto Guezimane, Swan was told to take that kick.
“I had complete trust in Eric to take the free kick,” Coach Guezimane explained. “I know him well and I know what he’s capable of.”
Swan cased the field: He saw Spurrier close to the Demon net.
“I saw they had pushed their line up very far,” Spurrier said. “I knew Eric could get it to me, he has a good, solid kick and he’s very accurate.”
Swan let it fly.
“I was looking for Shawn,” Swan said. “At first I thought it might go off the post. I had no idea it would go straight to Shawn’s foot.”
But that’s what happened.
Incredibly, Swan had delivered a 42-yard, on-the-mark, toe-to-toe pass — over all of Washington’s defenders — which left Spurrier 5 yards in front of the net with Zimmer to beat.
“Once I saw Shawn had it, I knew he’d score,” Swan said.
Spurrier kept his cool, easily putting that soccer ball past Zimmer untouched.
“That close,” said Spurrier, “it’s all about keeping a level head.”
Fairfield kept its 1-0 lead until 19:51 remained in the second half, when Washington’s Caleb Suchan scored.
For the entire contest, Fairfield outshot Washington 17-12.
Throughout the game, Miller and fellow forwards Dallas Peebler and Chaysten Titus kept Washington off-balance with solid shots.
Spurrier and fellow midfielders Adrian Restrepo, Jose Rojo and Austin Winslow made sure Fairfield was the more dominating squad in the middle of the field.
The Demons (2-2, 0-2) were most effective in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Trojan keeper Brendon Lunsford kept Washington off the board with several clutch stops, his biggest a diving one-handed save of a point-blank shot with 32:07 to play.
“We started each half a little slow,” said Coach Guezimane. “But the things we’re working on in practice are paying off in games. It’s a nice win — and we’ll keep working to improve.”