SILVER SPRING — The Einstein Titans varsity boys soccer team defeated the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Barons in a 3-2 victory at Montgomery Blair High School Saturday evening.
“We dominated and got many chances; but we kind of slacked off in the second half but we got the win in the end,” said Einstein junior midfielder Ebrahim Mbowe.
Looking to take an early lead, the Titans scored early and took a 3-0 lead before halftime. A major injury forced the match officials to pause the game, as emergency personnel attended to Einstein senior defender Jeffrey Vasquez for an open-wound injury to the head. The match resumed, with the Barons looking to find the score sheet and managing to reduce their deficit with two second-half goals.
“It probably should have been a PK [penalty kick]; he got cleated in the head,” Einstein junior midfielder Eli Kerstein said of his injured teammate. “I think he’ll be okay.”
Einstein coach Adrian Baez added that the victory came as his team had limited resources during practice sessions due to other athletic teams using the school’s new turf field, saying “It’s really difficult to get a full-size game going when we’re diminished in field size.”
Playing without their first-choice goalkeeper Bennett Schwartz, the Barons found themselves under pressure early in the first half.
Titans senior midfielder Robin Franco found himself unmarked, setting up Kerstein’s score with a low shot past the Barons’ junior goalkeeper Mohamed Mabrouk.
Seven minutes later, an Einstein counterattack set up senior midfielder Abraham Santos to score from close range.
Just 10 minutes after taking the lead, the referees paused the game, after Vasquez suffered a head injury requiring emergency attention. The stoppage lasted 10 minutes as an ambulance arrived to take Vasquez, who stood up and walked unassisted, to the hospital.
Baez did not provide any updates on Vasquez’s status as of the end of the match.
Once the match resumed, the Titans pressed forward and expanded their lead to three goals as Ebrahim Mbowe slotted the ball past Mabrouk.
“The first half was, by far, the worst performance,” said B-CC coach Gui Melendez. “We were not sharp, we were hesitant, and maybe we underestimated our opponent.”
As the first half came to a close, the match began to even out, with Barons’ junior midfielder Adam Cohen finding space on the flank, forcing the Titans’ backline promptly into action.
Following halftime, the Titans continued to press the Barons into defending their goal but struggled to find a fourth goal.
The Barons mounted repeated counterattacks, with Cohen creating goal-scoring opportunities but failed to open the score for his team.
Thirteen minutes into the second half, Barons sophomore defender Jack Lavorel scored off a corner kick after being left unmarked in the penalty box.
With 14 minutes remaining, the Barons’ senior midfielder Jordan Ventura volleyed in a direct free kick past Titans goalkeeper Daniel Rivera.
“I was proud of how we turned it around in the second half; we started playing together than getting on each other’s nerves,” said B-CC senior defender Arjun Akwei.
Seeking to preserve their lead, the Titans responded with their own counterattacks. Einstein senior forward Kenny Indrupati surged forward down the right flank, finding space for sophomore midfielder Jimmy Benitez.
The Titans did not score but held on to secure a 3-2 victory, repeating their result against the Barons from the 2017 season.
As the match drew to a close, Melendez earned a yellow card for dissent toward the match officials
“Everyone was here to win, and when it’s down to the last couple minutes you put in all you can,” Akwei added.