BUFFALO — Three straight halves of soccer with no goals could have produced a much different result Thursday night in Buffalo.
The Sheridan Broncs played through overtime to a 1-1 tie with the Buffalo High School Bison Thursday night on the road, using an explosive counter attack to escape with the draw.
The Broncs lost 3-0 in Laramie Saturday, and a first-half goal by Buffalo left them in a hole again Thursday. But the Broncs’ play in the final half and two overtime periods earned them the praise of best soccer their coach has seen all year.
“I just asked them to play,” Rizer said of how he implored his team at halftime. “I just asked them to battle. I felt like we weren’t real focused on our first touch. We were playing hard in the first half, I just thought we were playing very individualistic, no team concept. They started to play with that in the second half and really turned the play around. I thought we dominated that half. So I was very pleased.”
The Broncs immediately responded to those words in the second period.
Just two minutes out of the break, Joe Shassetz was freed on a deep through ball that he gathered right outside the 18-yard box, calmly slotting it past the scrambling Buffalo keeper.
While Buffalo dominated possession in the first half, threatening several times and getting their lone goal, the Broncs kept them honest in the second with explosive counter attacks, generated by multiple speedy strikers.
“We have a lot of speed up front,” Rizer admitted. “Ultimately, we’re going to be a counter-attacking team quite a bit, which means we’ve got to be able to defend well. And the kids did defend better tonight than they did last week. I think that Buffalo team is as good as the Laramie team we played.”
Buffalo, though a 3A school, always plays Sheridan tough on the soccer field. This is the second year in a row the teams have settled things in a tie. Sheridan limited almost any real chances on goal for the Bison in the second half, flying out on the counter but not finding the back of the net again, even in the extra 20 minutes.
In his postgame talk with his team, Rizer insisted the importance of possession and touch in order to relieve pressure of their defense, which spent so much of Thursday’s game on alert.
“We have a hard time building the attack,” he said. “And we’ve just got to get better at it. We usually do as the season wears on, but it’s got to be a focal point for us.”
Sheridan takes a break for the Easter weekend before returning home against conference foes Central and East.