FRISCO — Goalkeeper Josh Gosh found himself busy in the first playoff game of the season for Prosper soccer. The senior was vital to the Eagle defense, making several big saves to keep the opponent, the Frisco Centennial Trojans, from making a comeback in the 2-1 victory March 23.


The game began with both teams eager to make an intense offensive impression early on. Prosper immediately began to press the Trojan back line, looking to create a quick turnover. Centennial would retaliate with a dangerous free kick that Goss punched over the goal. As the game began to settle in, both teams battled for possession in the midfield, hoping to create a chance to grab the lead. Prosper would capitalize first when senior Boni Zarate played a long ball down the line to a running Cole Fedorczyk, who calmly slipped the ball past the goalie in the one-vs-one challenge.


“I saw the center back coming across, so I decided to cut it back,” said the junior about his goal. “As soon as the keeper slid across the goal, I just put it near post.”


And while Prosper was flying high with the advantage, Centennial did not back down. They continued to berate the Eagle defense with several dangerous shots, however Goss was diligent in his goalkeeping, making some key saves to keep his team ahead. Prosper showed some flair of their own, as freshman Alex Vartabedian and junior Andrew Crawford both demonstrated their speed and skill to maneuver through the Trojan defense. Centennial eventually found an equalizing goal after the referee awarded them a penalty kick. The Trojan player converted the shot, and with 12 minutes remaining, the score was tied 1-1.


“After that PK, you know, things happen — bumps come in the road, but you just gotta keep your head up and keep playing,” Fedorczyk said.


Following the penalty kick, the game became much more intense, as several fouls were being called on both teams. Prosper dug deep through the adversity, however, earning a corner kick after a counter attack. With just five minutes remaining in the first half, Boni Zarate played a well-lofted ball into the box, and after a slight scramble, junior Ivan Flores slammed home the eventual game-winner for the second week in a row.


The second half developed into a physical contest as Centennial again tried to tie the game. They were awarded several threatening set pieces, but the Eagle defense held solid. Sophomore Cade York was instrumental in the second, clearing away several big opportunities from the opposition. The lead was almost extended to three after a breakaway by defender Sergio Hurtado. The junior bolted through the Trojan defense and played a ball out wide to junior Dylan Johnson, but the Centennial goalkeeper was able to make the save.


With about 25 minutes remaining, Centennial had racked up three cards, including a red card that left them playing with just 10 men on the field. For the rest of the game, Prosper continued to defend well, resulting in their first playoff win on the year.


“I was really proud of the way we fought back,” head coach Ryan Rogers said. “It showed mental toughness for us not getting our heads down… we dug deep and defended when we needed to, and we pulled out in the end. I was proud of them.”


The boys are now Bi-District Champions and will be back on the pitch next weekend on March 31, taking on Lovejoy at Prestonwood High in Plano at 7:15 p.m.