LACEY – Timberline was playing from behind from the beginning in the second match of the Lacey Legends Cup on Tuesday against crosstown rival North Thurston.
It doesn’t help that the young Blazers have had trouble scoring goals this season.
Although the Blazers gave ground grudgingly Tuesday at South Sound Stadium, a solid 3-0 victory by the Rams will keep the Legends Cup in the North Thurston trophy case for another year.
First-year North Thurston coach Matthew Herrera coached soccer most recently at Yelm, as did Timberline coach Mark Tate, but Herrera is a
North Thurston alum and knew very well whom he was playing.
“I get a sense of the rivalry,” Herrera said as he held the Legends Cup afterward. “It’s always nice to beat Timberline.”
Tate downplayed the rivalry,
“Right now, those guys (the Rams) are on a different level than we are,” said Tate, whose Blazers have scored four goals in a 1-7 season. “We just need to take care of our own business. I was happy with the way we played. ... We’re improving every game.”
North Thurston, at 5-3 one game into the second half of the season, defeated Timberline, 5-0, in the teams’ first meeting March 13, and thus held that margin to begin the night in the cumulative-goal Legends Cup scoring.
The cup competition was launched several years ago with Rams soccer legend Kasey Keller on hand to present the trophy.
The Rams scored the only goal of the first half when senior midfielder Kenny Heo eluded a Blazers defender in the left corner, kept him on his hip and then crossed in front of the goal to senior forward Cong Vo, who pushed it past Timberline goalkeeper Adam Johnson at the 28 minute, 24 second mark.
Timberline kept the Rams off the scoreboard well into the second half. A long cross by Rams sophomore Zane Aguon set up freshman Jose Aguilar, who angled it in at 35:40.
Less than a minute later, Heo’s header found the net after a near-perfect corner kick by senior midfielder David Cregg.
Herrera said it was good to get back to winning after three own goals in the Rams’ last match were costly in a 3-1 loss to Mount Tahoma. The coach singled out the freshman Aguilar, as well as Heo and Cregg, for solid play in the victory.
Tate praised defenders Matt Groeser and Thadeus Lasko, and noted the continuing season-long improvement by keeper Johnson, who stayed tough under heavy North Thurston pressure.
The Rams visit Shelton for a Narrows League 3A match Thursday, while the Blazers host Lincoln at South Sound Stadium.