San Antonio – Adam “Chuy” Muro sat alone on the edge of the St. Mary’s University soccer team’s bench Saturday, his face painted with disappointment.
Texas A&M International University had just topped the Rattlers 2-0 to open Heartland Conference play at the St. Mary’s Soccer Field, and Muro was taking the loss hard.
Muro had taken a calculated gamble that helped lead to A&M International’s go-ahead goal with 34:36 remaining in the second half, so he naturally fretted he had let his teammates down.
But as Muro sat there, the rest of the Rattlers immediately poured in to pick up their distressed teammate – and to let the sophomore midfielder from San Antonio know he wasn’t to blame.
“He’s one of our most upbeat players, who plays with the most energy,” sophomore goalkeeper Patrick Kasperitis (Corpus Christi, Texas) said. “We need him.”
The source of Muro’s concern came from what followed a free kick early in the second half. Frustrated with the belief the Rattlers weren’t getting the required 10 yards of space on free kicks, Muro instinctively kicked the ball toward A&M International’s Abel Villavicencio, who was standing several feet away.
Muro hoped to draw a yellow card, a potentially game-defining moment in what was a scoreless draw at the time. Instead, the play stood, and Villavicencio retrieved the loose ball on St. Mary’s end of the field and scored.
The result wasn’t what Muro wanted, but his intentions were pure – and his teammates knew as much, which was why they refused to let Muro take blame for the defeat.
Such support meant everything to Muro.
“We just wanted this game,” Muro said. “We played hard, and a little thing like that happened.”
St. Mary’s outshot A&M International 18-10, including three shots on goal from senior midfielder Sean Strater (Carrollton, Texas). Kasperitis added six saves for the Rattlers (1-1), who just couldn’t find the net despite controlling the ball for the majority of the game.
This might not have been the Rattlers’ day, but they know good things remain ahead – especially from Muro.