Soccer: Federal Way gets second half goal, but can’t find a winner

Royals and Eagles draw 1-1 as the search for their first win continues.

So far this season, the Federal Way Eagles have been searching for their first win. That search will continue after a tough 1-1 draw with Kent-Meridian on March 19.

The Eagles reached the state tournament last season for the first time 2019, and just the third time in the last 10 years. Federal Way was the 16th seed that took on number one seeded Newport and gave them a game, falling 2-1.

But this year, the Eagles are still on the hunt for some success, and Head Coach Maxwell Pope finally saw what he was looking for.

“I am actually very upbeat. That second half performance was outstanding,” Pope said.

Federal Way was a bit sluggish out the gate, but so were the Royals. Neither side really looked threatening in the first 10 minutes besides one Kent-Meridian look that gave the Royals an early advantage.

A trap set by the Royals gave Johnny Chino-Lopez possession and he created enough space to sneak his shot past the Eagle goalkeeper for a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute.

Federal Way was quite lucky to escape the half with a just a 1-0 deficit. The Royals created loads of chances, but with some clever goalkeeping and solid defending, they were able to get to the break trailing by one.

In the second half, the Eagles were a different team. They had much more energy and connectedness in the attacking third. Senior Gabriel Dizon was firing on all cylinders, with some snappy shots that needed good goaltending on the Royal side.

“The boys really came around one common goal. It really felt like for the first time this year they played for each other and it really showed,” Pope said.

Dizon would be rewarded for his efforts in the 52nd minute on a free kick from about 50 yards out that found the head of Joshua Ruiz-Perez, who flicked the ball toward the goal. Dizon was the recipient of that header and sent his right boot through the ball and scored the equalizer.

“My boys are some of the best in the league at being able to connect those passes together,” said Pope. “It was really a momentum shifter to come out of halftime ready to go. That goal put us on the front foot.”

In the first half, Federal Way only had three shots in the entire 40 minutes. Pope just had to give his team a bit of a confidence boost to take shots with authority.

“I went in there (at halftime) and said ‘Guys shoot the ball. I don’t care if it is from 40-yard out, shoot the ball. If you keep doing these cute little passes, you’re never going to test the keeper,’” Pope told his team at halftime.

“They came out in the second half really fired up and made it a good game,” Pope added.

Federal Way kept at it and looked for ways to get a winning goal in that second half, winning multiple corners and searching for the breakthrough opportunity.

“Unfortunately we weren’t able to get it over the line. But it was an exciting game and that is why we love boys high school soccer,” Pope said.

Joshua Ruiz Perez battles with a Kent-Meridian player for the ball. Ben Ray / The Mirror

Joshua Ruiz Perez battles with a Kent-Meridian player for the ball. Ben Ray / The Mirror