NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Without a reliable offensive attack thus far this season, Providence High boys' soccer Coach Kordo Doski has seen firsthand that giving up one goal on the other end can be too much for his team to come back from.
In their latest match, the Pioneers played with effort and showed tenacity on defense, but eventually gave up that dreaded goal in the 21st minute of the second half.
And against a struggling offense, it was all Liberty League opponent Oakwood needed to clinch its 1-0 win at Glendale Community College Saturday.
"We don't have enough offensively," Doski said after the team's second 1-0 loss to Oakwood this season. "We defend well, but we just don't have the firepower on offense."
Providence mustered up eight shots for the game — five of them coming on free kicks.
Oakwood tallied 21 shots, but a majority of them had little chance of finding the back of the net given the distance and angle and most of the ones that were on target were stopped by Providence's goalkeeper Gevork Arabyan, who had 14 saves.
Arabyan was kept on his toes throughout the match, as Oakwood controlled time of possession and rarely saw an attack on their side of the field.
Neither team showed a crisp offense, especially in a scoreless first half.
Trying to catch Oakwood off guard, Anto Boghokian took the second-half kickoff shortly after play had resumed and kicked it toward the net from 50 yards out, but the ball sailed wide right.
It was the first shot of a chippy and more physical second half — one in which Oakwood got on the scoreboard after Arabyan couldn't control a free kick sent in from 35 yards out. The loose ball was kicked out by Providence, resulting in a corner opportunity for Oakwood.
Instead of sending the ball toward the front of the net, the Gorillas decided to play it in short out of the corner, and then send it. Unfortunately for the Pioneers, the cross found its way to the upper right corner of the net for a goal.
"We seem to always give up those soft goals," Doski said. "They work their tails off, but always fall on the wrong side of things. We didn't give up any good shots, though."
Frustration boiled over shortly after. Ankur Mulji received a yellow card for pushing an Oakwood player. On the way to the bench, Mulji complained his team wasn't getting any calls.
Providence kept up the intensity, but failed to score the game-tying goal — an all-too familiar story line for the Pioneers this season.
"The effort is still there, but the quality isn't," said Doski whose team has yet to win a league game this season. "They're a good group of kids who play hard, but most of them don't play soccer outside of this team. Not even AYSO."