Manteo Comes Up Short Against Rosewood

On Wednesday, November 13th, your Manteo Redskins hosted the Rosewood Eagles of Goldsboro. Rosewood defeated the number four seed, Southside, in the second round to earn the right to face off against the Redskins in the third round of the state playoffs.

As the sun was setting just before the kickoff, warm breathes hung in the air as the temperature plummeted into the thirties. On paper, the game would appear to be an interesting matchup as Rosewood was senior-heavy with lots of size and Manteo is a much younger, smaller team.

The game kicked off to an early midfield battle as both teams looked to settle within the fast pace of the game, find their touch and their attacking transitions. Manteo continued with their usual style of play, looking to combo in the midfield to pump diagonal balls out wide to their wingers, make the Rosewood backline turn and face their goal, and send crosses into the box.

Manteo saw a great opportunity at goal in the first five minutes using this style of play. Noah Goetsch received a ball in the attacking midfield, took a collecting touch before switching the point of attack by sending a well-weighted diagonal ball between the Rosewood left-back and center-back. The ball was played in for Trent Hayman sprinting down the right-wing. Hayman crossed the ball into the 18-yard box on his first touch, targeting Andrew Hayman in the middle of the box. The diagonal ball had drawn three defenders wide, leaving only one to clear out the cross. The defender on Andrew Hayman was well-positioned to win the ball before Hayman but he whiffed on his clearance attempt and the ball skipped across towards the far post. It rolled right to Carter Calvio who looked to place the ball back across the goal into the side netting on his first touch with the left foot. The ball rolled just wide of the far post.

The Redskins began to settle in and control the run of play earning more quality looks at goal.

Brandon Gonzalez-Martinez did well to dispossess an Eagle in the attacking midfield and he quickly found Calvio with the ball. Calvio dribbled laterally towards the left-wing, drawing two defenders with him and the Rosewood right-back pinched up to mark Richard Hernandez on the wing. As soon as the outside-back pulled up, Calvio sent a diagonal ball in behind the back, leading Hernandez into wide space in the attacking third. The Eagle defense did well to recover and negate Hernandez’s speed, keeping him from turning the corner and getting in on goal. Hernandez dropped the ball back to Calvio and he sent a cross into the 18-yard box targeting Trent Hayman on the far-post. Trent Hayman battled for the cross in the air, but his defender won it with a poor clearance touch that laid the ball off in the box for Andrew Hayman. Andrew Hayman beat his mark to the ball and had a shot first time with his left foot. The goalkeeper was able to scoop it up on the run before it could cross the goal-line.

The Eagles’ attack mostly consisted of a drop or support pass in the midfield before looking to send it long to their big target striker up top. The Manteo defense did well to take their style of attacking away from them. However, on a few occasions, the long ball was worked down into difficult spots for the Manteo defense, and the ball was cleared out of bounds alongside the 18-yard box. Rosewood brought up one of their big midfielders to take a long throw-in, targeting their tall striker inside the six-yard box. The striker was marked, but not marked well. The throw was perfectly placed on the striker’s head and he taped it in for a goal.

Not long after Rosewood scored on the first throw-in, they scored again in the exact same way. It was another long throw-in to their tall striker inside the six-yard box. Poor defensive marking and ownership of the box lead to a second goal as the striker again taped it in with his head from two yards out.

Manteo was in a bit of disbelief to have now fallen behind 2-0 after they had been controlling most of the possession. The two throw-in goals were really the only two times Rosewood had gotten the ball down into their attacking third.

Manteo kept plugging away, earning more quality opportunities on goal. Hayman saw another great look at goal sail inches wide of the far post. Goetsch saw a rocket of a 30-yard shot bound for the top-bin be saved by the Rosewood goalkeeper. Manteo would get one back near the end of the first half from a spectacular goal from Aldo Herrera.

After receiving the ball up the gut in the attacking third, Andrew Hayman tried to penetrate the backline and dribble the ball into the 18-yard box. After beating the first defender, Hayman and the second defender both fought for the ball on a 50/50 ball on the ground. The ball popped high into the air and out towards the left side of the 18-yard box. Herrera ran the ball down, beating his pressing defender to the ball. The defender positioned between Herrera and the goal and he initially turned his back to goal, shielding the ball, and pretending to retreat out of the box. Just as the defender eased off Herrera a bit, Herrera spun back towards goal and fired off a shot from a twenty-five-degree angle. It was a cracker of a shot that surprised the goalkeeper and the defenders. The ball sailed over the goalkeeper, struck the bottom of the crossbar, and deflected into the back of the far-post side netting. A jubilant Herrera sprinted down the fans’ sideline as his teammates chased him down to congratulate him on the wonder goal.

Shortly after, Oscar Rivera almost equalized for the Redskins off a corner kick. Calvio took the corner, curling it over the first defenders and finding Rivera on the back post. Rivera elevated above everyone, heading the ball down onto the goal line. The ball was struck well and placed in a difficult spot on the line, but the goalkeeper was able to corral it just before it crossed the goal line.

In the waning minutes of the first half, Rosewood put together their best-attacking sequence. It began with wonderful combination play in the attacking midfield. Their striker received the ball in the middle entering the attacking third. As the backline focused in on him, he squared the ball over to an overlapping midfielder who quickly made a one-touch diagonal pass to the third man runner now entering the box in the left-slot. He was played in perfectly, seemingly with only the goalkeeper to beat now from nine yards out. However, Rivera made an absolute brilliant defensive play to block the shot of the attacker.

Rivera was the defender to stand up the overlapping midfielder that made the diagonal pass into the box for the third man runner. As soon as the pass was made, Rivera immediately saw the danger materializing, and began sprinting across the box at an angle to defend the ball once again. Rivera covered about 15 yards from the time the pass was made to the attacker’s first touch, setting up his shot. Rivera pounced on the shot, blocking it back out into the box.

The ball fell to another Rosewood attacker that had a look at the goal. Cody Weaver was there to knock the ball down with the save. The ball fell awkwardly to the striker who was initially dispossessed by Rivera. He attempted a shot but sliced it across the goal. The shot bounced across the goal and another Rosewood attacker seemingly had a wide-open goal to tap the ball in but his first touch sent the ball inches wide of the far post.

Despite having the ball for 60% of the possession in the first 40 minutes, the Redskins would enter the half trailing by a score of 2-1.

In the first twenty minutes of the second half, Manteo pressed the issue of equalizing the game but struggled to finish against a more compact Rosewood defense that was protecting the one-goal lead.

Midway through the second half, Manteo earned the goal they had been working so hard for. The play began with a goal kick taken by Manteo’s Brian Estrada-Tovar. He launched the ball 60 yards downfield along the right-wing. The ball sailed just over the head of Trent Hayman near the midline marker and bounced out wide. Striker, Andrew Hayman, had been holding more length and made a run onto the bouncing ball as it skipped past a Rosewood defender into the attacking midfield. Hayman took his touch forward down the line and used his pace to beat two defenders pressing hard along him. Hayman dribbled the ball all the way down near the end line and then launched a curling cross bound for the far post. The Rosewood goalkeeper had been holding the near-post as the ball was crossed and had to turn and run backward across his line as the ball was dropping into the six-yard box. Aldo Herrera had been tracking the play and making his run on the far post the whole time. Herrera met the ball in the air with his head and tapped it into the back of the net from two yards out. The home side fans and bench lept out of their seats with excitement upon the equalizer as Herrera again sprinted back down the sideline to celebrate.

Manteo’s momentum did not last long. Three minutes after equalizing, Rosewood scored again to make a 3-2 scoreline. The Eagles changed up their attacking approach by playing a diagonal ball out wide for their striker to run on to. As he received the ball and attacked down the left-wing, he drew the attention of several Manteo defenders and the backline over shifted. As the attacker was thwarted by the swarm of defenders down the left-wing, he squared the ball back across into the middle of the field to a midfielder making his run in support of the ball. The midfielder took a collecting touch towards goal as the Manteo defenders tried to recover. The attacker got his shot off from twenty-five yards out before the pressing defenders could reach him. It was struck low and hard and made its way past the diving, outstretched arms of Weaver.

As the counter-attack had taken place resulting in the goal, all the while, Calvio had been down on the ground with an injury. Trainers were called out onto the field to address it. Rosewood used the five minutes necessary to address the injury to talk tactics about the remaining fifteen minutes of the game with a one-goal lead.

When play finally resumed, Manteo was left without Calvio in the midfield for six minutes as the trainers fixed up his sprained elbow. At that time, Manteo struggled to find any rhythm while missing an integral part of their distribution methods.

Calvio would return with a wrapped and padded elbow. With twelve minutes remaining on the clock and trailing by one goal again, Manteo switched into a 3-5-2 formation by pulling Rivera off the backline and using him as a support striker up top with Hayman.

In those final ten minutes of the game, Manteo saw 70% of the possession. They earned numerous quality chances on goal with several near misses from Hayman and Rivera. They simply could not finish. Rosewood held on strong to negate any more goals from the Redskins and when the final whistle blew, the Eagles celebrated a 3-2 victory to move onto the fourth round of playoffs in which they would take on Franklin Academy.

Team Stats
Possession %
Attacking Transitions
Free Kicks
Successful Passes
Pass Success Rate


Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “It is unfortunate to go out this way. I felt like we were the better of the two teams on this night, with a higher quality of play and more opportunities. However, we struggled to finish and we had several major lapses in defensive marking on set pieces that cost us. If we had done just a few things better throughout the game, we would have run away with the game early on, but we did not. That’s soccer sometimes. I couldn’t be more proud of our team and how we finished up the season with high-quality play. It was a difficult beginning to the season as we were such a young team. Our returning players were all learning new positions and leadership roles, and our freshmen were adjusting to the speed and physicality of varsity soccer. Midway through the season, we started to figure things out, the players bought into the system and we had a lot of great and beautiful moments on the pitch. I’m sad to see our three seniors go as they helped up to the last four straight conference titles. However, I am excited to continue on with this young group of players and reload for next year.”





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