Boys’ soccer prepares to play top ranked team in state

Fifth ranked team to play Washburn


Claire Bargman

Junior Nicholas Riley attacks the space and slips past two Benilde defenders. Park boys will have to use smart dribbling skills when they face the top team in the state Washburn, Oct. 6th.

Claire Bargman

Varsity coach Chato Alvarado said being ranked fifth in Minnesota’s class 2A is a big deal, but it would be a bigger deal for Park to beat Washburn, the top ranked boys team in the state.

Alvarado said he is expecting a good matchup between boys’ varsity team and Washburn’s first place team.

“They have had good teams the last three years and they attack well and defend well so it’s going to be an interesting game,” Alvarado said.

According to Alvarado, Washburn’s team is well balanced overall but has some players to watch out for. He’s knows a senior attacker and junior midfielder that are especially talented.

“They have a couple guys. One is named Ty Benjaafar and they have another kid Jameson Charles and he’s originally from Haiti, he’s a good player,” Alvarado said.

Junior Thomas Salamzadeh, a Park captain, said this is one of the biggest games of the season since Washburn is so highly ranked.

“Our last home game against Washburn is big because they are the number one team in the state right now and we beat them last year. I think we can beat them again before sections,” Salamzadeh said.

Another captain, senior Zinedine Kroeten, said teams with big programs and a lot of depth like Washburn are almost always the most solid competition.

“I have played Washburn three or four years and they have always been a really good team so our biggest opponent is probably either Washburn or Wayzata,” said Kroeten

Kroeten said Washburn has such a good program and he is glad the season has prepared them for such a big game.

“At the beginning of the season we didn’t play very good, and every game our team has gotten progressively better,” Kroeten said.

According to senior Sam Gage, the drills players do during practices are helping them play to their strengths and making sure they can play at their fullest capacity.

“We do a lot of possession drills where you try to play the ball quickly because that’s one of our strengths,” said Gage. “This helps us in keeping the ball and playing on the ground at game speed and when we do that we’re one of the best teams in the state.”

Alvarado said the game will for sure be difficult but it’s reasonable to aim for a win with the right tactics. In hard games he said it is important to stay composed and keep control so you don’t lose the ball near your goal.

“We’re going to try to focus on defense and hopefully try to take advantage of opportunities on the attack,” said Alvarado.

Alvarado said Washburn is good but based on their players and the size of their program, a win is achievable. He said this is possible only if the boys stay focused and play how they always do.

“They are like the little train that could, they’re not that big but they have a well-balanced team,” Alvarado said.

The boys will face Washburn at 3 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Orioles’ Stadium.