Before each long throw-in during a boys soccer game, Albert Einstein High School forward Marcos Moradel cradles the ball to his jersey and cleans it off. He walks away from the field with his head bowed down before turning, stepping, and running to uncork a massive toss.
Twice, Moradel's throw-ins near led to goals by Titans sophomore forward Bryan Reyes-Aranda as Einstein defeated Seneca Valley on their home field Thursday night, 3-1.
“I started that in ninth grade. I didn't even know I could do that,” Moradel said of his deep throws. “I just started launching it and year-by-year it just got better and better. It's proven to be very dangerous. Last year and in previous years, we've scored a lot off of those throws.”
Reyes-Aranda's scores bolstered Einstein one night after they dropped an overtime heartbreaker to Watkins Mill. Watching the Titans on Thursday, however, one hardly would have suspected they played a match less than 24 hours prior.
“These two games serve, and all of our overtime games, are serving for fitness, which is real good heading into the thick of the schedule,” Einstein coach Adrian Baez said.
Even with tired legs, Einstein possessed the ball for nearly 60 percent of the game as Seneca Valley managed three shots on goal in the first half — none of which were particularly threatening.
Einstein's first goal came in the third minute when Moradel uncorked his first throw-in. The toss reached the near goalpost and was then headed twice — once across the goal mouth and again off the post by defender Karl Brown. That header attempt bounced on the field, where Reyes-Aranda knocked in the rebound for his third goal of the season.
“I usually get to the right spot and I'm thankful for that, knowing where the ball's going to go,” Reyes-Aranda said.
The Titans' second goal, which came in the 42nd minute, was a near-duplicate only this time, Moradel's throw was headed directly from Brown to Reyes-Aranda, who tapped it by Eagles goalkeeper Anthony Harris.
“It's always good to bounce back from the loss. It's a win away from home, too, so it's even better,” Moradel said.
Einstein scored its third goal against a banged-up Eagles defense in the 47th minute when midfielder Moustapha Diene shot from 25 yards out that found its way into the top left corner of the net.
Seneca Valley ruined Einstein's shutout bid in the 73rd minute on a play by forward Kevin Munoz. Holding the ball up top with authority, Munoz waited for teammate Kevin Quintanilla to make his run. Once Quintanilla entered the box, Munoz sent in a crisp pass that Quintanilla one-touched by Titans goalkeeper Cristian Andino.
“We had several opportunities to put some in the back of the net,” Seneca Valley coach Hugo Zapata said. “I think we have a lot of things to work with right now, once we get our defense back it's going to help.”
In the second half, the Eagles' best chance aside from the goal came following a direct free kick that bounced around inside the 6-yard mark before junior Jonnathan Sierra struck it cleanly, but Andino made a diving stop.
The teams played using a pink soccer ball on breast cancer awareness night at Seneca Valley.
Albert Einstein 3, Seneca Valley 1
Albert Einstein (4-1-2) 1 2 — 3
Seneca Valley (4-5-0) 0 1 — 1
Albert Einstein — Bryan Reyes-Aranda 2 (3', 42'), Moustapha Diene (47')
Seneca Valley — Kevin Quintanilla (73')
Albert Einstein — Karl Brown (42')
Seneca Valley — Kevin Munoz (73')