By Kolby Chang

(photo courtesy of Mike Unpingco)

(photo courtesy of Mike Unpingco)

The GW Geckos earned their first win of the season by knocking off the FD Friars 2-1 in the IIAAG Boys’ Soccer League Monday night at the GW field. The Geckos’ record now stands at 1-2-1, while the Friars fall to 2-3.

Geckos’ coach Vince Naputi said his team lost some close games this season due to the midfield not making their presence felt but against the Friars they finally got a foothold in the game, played relentless defense and walked away with a win.

“I’m real proud of them. We’ve been working hard. I’ve got a real young team,” Naputi said.

Naputi added that he sees the result of the game as a confidence booster for the team and is looking to carry that into the rest of the season. ‘We choose to establish our middle and attack the outside. Last game we were attacking the middle and they were just playing defense in the middle. Today they kind of did what I asked them to do and it paid dividends,’ Naputi said.

In spite of the Friars controlling the ball for a majority of the first half, it was the Geckos who drew first blood in the 27th minute. The Geckos’ AJ Root lined up for a corner kick and placed it right to Ray Macinas who fired in a nice goal to make it 1-0. The Friars continued to push the ball but solid defense from the Gecko fullbacks and savvy goalkeeping from Joaquin Sanchez kept the visitors off of the scoreboard going into halftime.

(photo courtesy of Mike Unpingco)

(photo courtesy of Mike Unpingco)

The Geckos came out looking much more aggressive on offense in the second half as they probed the Friar defense searching for goals. The Friars, however, responded with some offense of their own and scored on a header by off of a corner kick in the 60th minute to knot the score at 1-apiece.

With the game now tied, the Friars picked up the pace and got a nice opportunity to score when CJ Paulino broke away from his defender and floated a sweet cross from the right side of the field that would have landed right about three feet in front of the keeper. Sanchez, however, read the pass and made a great leaping catch to prevent a goal.

The two Mangilao schools continued to battle for possession until the Geckos’ Ryan Quitugua found himself open about 10 feet in front of the goal amidst a scramble for the ball. Quitugua booted in the ball at the 72nd minute to seal it for his team.

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