Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Top-ranked Coppell boys soccer withstands red card, prevails over No. 3 Duncanville
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — Defending boys state soccer champion Coppell cleared a big playoff hurdle, defeating Duncanville 2-0 in a Class 5A Region I quarterfinal Tuesday night at Birdville Fine Arts Athletic Complex.
The Cowboys managed to record their ninth shutout despite playing a man down for the final 24 minutes when Austin Michaelis was red-carded in the Duncanville penalty area.
Coppell (19-1-2) finished the regular season No. 1 in the final SportsDay area ranking and Duncanville (20-2-2) was No. 3.
“Our guys did a great job working as a unit,’’ said Coppell coach Chad Rakestraw. “In that short-handed situation, it was probably more about our organization and guys knowing their roles.’’
The defense was so good, even though Duncanville had more possession time in the second half, it generated fewer prime scoring opportunities than when the teams were at even strength.
“Duncanville is a very good team with some crafty players and they created some good chances in the first half,’’ said Coppell defender Kellen Reid. “But I thought we responded well.’’
Michaelis, a junior forward, set up Coppell’s opening goal with a low centering pass from the right. Chris Madden, the target of the pass, one-timed a six-yard shot into the open left corner of the net in the game’s 18 minute.
Roberto Arguello scored in very nearly the same spot in the 31 minute for a 2-0 halftime lead.
Duncanville, unbeaten in its previous 21 matches, just missed a couple of chances when the game was scoreless. Striker Chris Escalera hit the right post in the sixth minute. Coppell keeper Robbie Coens had to make a leaping one-handed deflection over the bar on a 25-yard shot by Eder Falcon a few minutes later.
Coens was playing in just his third game since returning from injury.
“If that first ball that hit the post goes in, it is a totally different game,’’ said Rakestraw.
Duncanville keeper Josh Nieto in the first half kept it 1-0 with sprawling save of a header from close range.
The Cowboys remain unbeaten against in-state competition. Their only loss was to Florida power Montverde Academy.
Coppell advances to a regional semifinal at 6 p.m. Friday in Midland against El Paso Eastwood, a 3-1 regional quarterfinal winner over Arlington Martin, and will have to play without Michaelis because of the red card.
“Austin is a big player for us,’’ said Rakestraw, “but we don’t depend on just one. We have guys that can fill that role.’’