San Antonio – The St. Mary’s men’s soccer team fell in an aggressive, yellow-card- and- foul-heavy battle against Eastern New Mexico on their home field, 2-1, on Sunday.
The Greyhounds (6-3-4) started their offensive game play quickly with Anthony Bardon putting the first goal on the board five minutes into the game. The Rattlers (3-9) capitalized on a free kick shortly after with senior Rodrigo Ramos connecting with a header assisted by Fernando Arias-Williamson (Fr., Houston) in his second goal of the season.
Eastern New Mexico returned in the second half with another offensive surge with Alvaro Joly connecting in the 51st minute to give the Greyhounds an advantage, 2-1, that the Rattlers would not overcome.
While Eastern New Mexico was an offensively strong team, the game was more defined by the fierceness and highly aggressive 90 minutes of play exhibited by both teams. Several players from both the Greyhounds and the Rattlers fell to the ground in injury every few minutes due to hard scuffles that resulted in 31 total fouls for the game.
In addition, five yellow cards were issued to try to settle down the growing rivalry between Eastern New Mexico and St. Mary’s, but the aggressiveness continued. During the second half while the Rattlers were scrambling to tie the game, a prolonged discussion between the refs and the Greyhounds’ head coach lost precious time for the Rattlers due to the lack of a call to stop the clock. After the final horn blew, Rattler Aaron Stares (Jr., Swindon, England), still upset with the lost time, was issued his second yellow card, resulting in a red card being drawn.
However the 31 fouls, five yellow cards and one red card was exactly what Ramos said the Rattlers anticipated.
“Pretty much what was on my mind and on the mind of the whole team was that this was a good team and we all needed to bring it,” Ramos said. “This is one of those most physical games you know you want to be in. You live for these kind of games where they’re physical and they’re hard and you’re tired and you’re hitting each other.”
Through the elbows and pushes, Stares led the Rattlers with two shots on goal followed by Arias-Williamson and Omar Sanchez (Fr., San Antonio) with one apiece.
The Rattlers take on Texas A&M International at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Culebra Creek Park.