Scott Kennedy called it “speech 64” — and it was as effective as it was unprintable.
Facing a 0-0 tie against Fremont of Oakland after the first half of Monday’s Transbay boys’ soccer opener, the Mission coach pulled his team into a circle and told his players in no uncertain terms that they needed to give a better effort in the second half.
And the Bears responded, completely controlling possession of the ball after the intermission and scoring three second half goals to top Fremont 3-0 in a driving rainstorm at Franklin Field in Game 1 of the best-of-three series.
Mission, the Academic Athletic Association and San Francisco Section champion, beat Fremont last year for the Transbay title and now must defeat the Oakland Section winner once more to go back-to-back.
The next game is Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Fremont High.
“I told them they needed to [run harder],” Kennedy said with a smile. “We had to stop [dribbling it around] and trying to be pretty. And then the second half was much better.”
Edgar Gomez-Carreto epitomized Mission’s workmanlike effort when he got the Bears on the board in the 65th minute. Marvin Jimmenez took the ball down the right wing and centered it from the corner and the slippery ball slid out of Fremont goalie Luis Gallegos’ hands and into the middle of penalty area when a hustling Gomez-Carreto put it in with his right foot.
And once Mission took the lead, the ball rarely left the Fremont end. Roberto Escobar capitalized on a partial breakaway just three minutes after the first Mission goal and added another unassisted score in the 82nd minute to put the exclamation point on the win.
“We had to grind it out and get some chances,” Kennedy said. “[Fremont] played well in the first half, but we rallied and got it done.”
The game was originally scheduled for Boxer Stadium, but had to be moved due to unplayable field conditions. But although Franklin is a field-turf pitch, puddles began gathering almost immediately and stopping long passes in their tracks.
Fremont seemed to adjust to the adverse conditions more quickly, controlling the possession and earning six corner kicks in the first 25 minutes.
But as well as theTigers played early on, they were never able to truly break through against the Mission defense. Seph Kramer and Jairo Majano alternated at sweeper for the Bears and didn’t allow Fremont a clean shot on goal all game, allowing goalie Jose Gallardo Marcias a relatively nerve-free shutout.