By RYAN HERMAN
PUMPKIN CENTER –– Lincolnton boys soccer coach Ian Leith saw so many mistakes in his team’s season opener Thursday he couldn’t keep count.
North Lincoln’s biggest problem was keeping up.
Jeffrey Perez and Alejandro Alvarado Zamora scored two goals each as Lincolnton pulled away late for a 6-1 win.
As season openers go –– Lincolnton’s home match with North Gaston on Monday was postponed due to rain –– Leith left satisfied with the win but scratching his head at some of the mistakes he saw.
“We outpossessed them, we outshot them, we outplayed them (but) I do not think that we’re anywhere near where we need to be,” Leith said. “We had way too many offsides calls, we got frustrated too easily. … We’ve got some kinks to work out. I don’t know what else to say about it.”
Perez scored the first two goals for the Wolves (1-0) then Zamora added the next two as the Knights, who fell to St. Stephens 9-0 on Wednesday, did all they could to keep up.
North Lincoln (0-2) kept it respectable trailing 3-1 at the break and down inside 21 minutes to play, but over the course of the next 3 minutes all that speed Lincolnton possess had finally wore the Knights down.
Zamora scored on a breakaway in the 20th minute to go up 4-1. Two minutes later Christian Sandoval found Juan Abonza over the top for a goal, and Kevin Lopez scored in the box on a loose ball at the 17:56 mark to put his team up 6-1.
Lincolnton outshot North Lincoln 14-3.
“We just don’t have much of a defense right now,” Knights coach Tim Corvin said. “They kept skipping balls on us and we were getting outran. I don’t have the speed to keep up with these speedsters.”
Perez scored on a penalty kick 5 1/2 minutes in. North Lincoln captain Mitch Brown tied it with a take-it-to-the-house goal four minutes later.
The Knights had their chances, but couldn’t convert.
Trailing 2-1, Kevin Garcia hit the crossbar on a free kick in the 15th minute. He also missed a free kick wide at the end of the half.
Lincolnton had its share of misses, but the speed of Perez and Zamora was too much to overcome.
If only the Wolves could have slowed down just a bit and not gotten too far ahead of the defense.
“We’ve got a lot of speed up top. I think that’s going to be a real strength for us. It’s going to be hard for a lot teams to stop us from scoring,” Leith said. “Again, we’ve got to stay onsides.”
For Corvin, it’s a matter of getting better in time for league play.
“We’ve got some work to do,” he said. “We’ll get it turned around by conference.”