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Cyclones fall to ‘Canes in home opener

BY ALLEN LAMOUNTAIN
STAR CORRESPONDENT

Hoping for a fast start to open the 2021 soccer season, the Elizabethton Cyclones fell to Morristown East 2-1 at Citizens Bank Stadium on Tuesday.

The Hurricanes had dominated EHS in 2020 before the season came crashing down, but the Cyclones played a much more disciplined defensive game but gave away a pair of goals on penalty kicks in this one.

“The first one was a legitimate penalty kick,” Cyclones head coach Bill McClay said. “Bad stuff happens and the team as a whole has to realize you can’t let that stuff get to you. We just have to be sharper. I think the pace of our passes was off tonight, where some of them we didn’t hit hard enough.”

Morristown East (1-0) scored in the 38th minute of the first half when Jose Gomez was fouled in the Cyclones penalty area and he connected on his penalty kick for a 1-nil halftime lead.

On the play, EHS senior goalkeeper Noah Lambert was shown a yellow card, and backup Mason Williams was forced to come in cold and defend on the play.

EHS (0-1) had some chances on set pieces with Holston Howard setting up two good scoring chances on corner kicks that fell short in the second half.

On one of those Dawson May’s header off a corner feed went over the crossbar and the ‘Canes keeper was able to punch the ball over the net for the save. On another, junior Riley Vernon saw his shot go high as well.

“We were fairly dangerous on set plays,” McClay said. “We had two good opportunities on corner kicks, and we will look to build on that. All in all, we learned some things about some players in the heat of battle and what I can expect from them.”

Early in the second half, a major flop in the Cyclones penalty area saw Melvin Pavon awarded a PK that he scored on in the 44th minute of play for a 2-nil ‘Canes advantage.

The ‘Canes were awarded yet another penalty kick – their third of the match – but Eduardo Velasco Patino fired high and his shot cleared the crossbar and the score stood at 2-nil.

Howard had a great chance on a free kick from 29 yards out that sailed high, but in the 79th minute, he drilled a free-kick from just outside the scoring box that beat ‘Canes goalkeeper Israel Cruz and averted the shutout.

In the last frantic minute, the Cyclones were unable to get off a clean shot and the issue was settled.

EHS’s next home game will come on March 23 against former conference rival University High with game time set for 7 pm with a junior varsity match set for post-game.

Morristown East 2-1

Morristown East….1 1 – 2

Elizabethton……….0 1 – 1

Scoring Summary

First Half

M – Gomez (PK) 39:00

Second Half

M – Pavon (PK) 44:00

E – Howard (Free Kick goal) 79:00