By Ray Hamill — A wonderful Fernando Atilano goal midway through the second half was the difference in a hard-fought and well-played boys soccer matchup between the Huskies and Tigers at Arcata High on Wednesday afternoon.
Atilano, who has been in spectacular form this season, rounded a defender on his way into the box and lobbed a perfectly placed shot over the Arcata keeper’s head into the back of the net.
In an evenly-matched game with chances on both sides, Fortuna held on for the 1-0 win.
“It’s one of the better goals I’ve seen,” Fortuna head coach Daniel Holmes said of Atilano’s brilliantly weighted shot. “But I’ve seen him do it in practice.”
Once again, the junior standout was the most dangerous player on the field, causing the Tigers defense anxious moments every time he touched the ball.
To their credit, however, the Tigers defense stood firm the remainder of the way, holding the most potent attack on the North Coast to just the one goal.
“We had chances, and they had a few chances,” said Holmes, whose team improved to 2-0 in league play and 7-0 overall. “We could have finished a few more.”
Injuries haven’t helped matters for the Huskies early in the season, with three players sidelined for Wednesday’s game and the coach forced to move some players around.
And that led to a sluggish start for the visitors.
“We just didn’t seem to connect in that first half. We didn’t find our rhythm,” Holmes said. “And I thought Arcata played a great game. It was a good match.”
Senior Geovaney Ramirez continued to play solid defense for the Huskies and has played a big role through the opening two league games, as has sophomore Omar Alvarado, who had a big say in center midfield.
The Huskies’ injury list got longer with the loss of sophomore Braiden Barsanti, who suffered a broken leg late in the game.
Up to that point, the industrious Barsanti had been enjoying a strong game, particularly distributing the ball.
The defending champions will look to continue their unbeaten run when they travel to South Fork on Saturday.
Arcata is now 1-1 in league and 2-2 overall and will host Eureka on Saturday.