The Lindbergh Eagles bounced back after a previous loss to Tyee with a non-league win over Rainier Beach on March 27 at Renton Memorial Stadium. The Eagles won by a score of 4-2.
“It shows their tough mentality. They went into the Tyee game expecting a win and were hit with a harsh reality. They came out fighting tonight, “ said head coach Adib Atlallal.
Lindbergh improved its record to 4-2 this season and sits in third place in the KingCo standings. After the loss to Tyee, there was a mentality switch between that game and the Rainier Beach match.
“Even though they are a higher classification than us, it’s about the play on the field,” Atlallal said.
Last season, the Eagles made it to the second round of the playoffs as the 16 seed, beating Steilacoom 2-0 before losing to eighth-seeded White River 1-0, ending the team’s year.
In the contest against Rainier Beach, Lindbergh dominated early. At the 17-minute mark, Julian Lutthans found Kevin Marquez in the six-yard box and Martinez put the ball in the back of the net, giving Lindbergh a 1-0 lead.
Against the rhythm of play and momentum of the game, Rainier Beach went on the front foot. Over a span going from the 18th minute to the 21st minute, Rainier Beach scored two goals on set pieces. One on a corner and the other on a penalty kick from 35 yards out off the foot of Hadi Mubarak.
“We started out a little iffy, but then we picked it up because we knew what we needed to do with the ball,” Marquez said.
Over the next 11 minutes, Lindbergh struggled to answer after Rainier Beach took the lead.
“They were telling each other to keep their heads up… They could have slipped into the mentality of ‘we lost to Tyee and couldn’t come back’ but they were strong enough to not do that,” Atlallal said.
But the answer was given by senior midfielder Agustin Parnet who scored on a free kick from right outside the 18-yard box. Going into halftime the two teams were knotted at two goals a side.
“It was beautiful. The composure to go for placement instead of hitting it as hard as he can makes a difference,” Atlallal said.
At halftime, the message from head coach Adib Atlallal was simple. “We needed to play positive. Possession doesn’t mean anything if you don’t put the ball in the back of the net,” Atallal said.
That message was heard by the team. In the second half, it was all Eagles. In the first five minutes of the second half, Lindbergh applied high pressure and even registered a shot off the post.
The Vikings couldn’t stop the inevitable, in the 63rd minute of the game, the Ferew brothers combined for the go-ahead goal. Sophomore Matti sent a nifty pass to his freshman brother Markos who found the back of the Viking net giving Lindbergh a 3-2 lead.
“It’s definitely important to stay aggressive,” said Marquez. “You never know when mistakes could happen.”
Lindbergh continued to apply pressure on Rainier Beach. Over the rest of the game, the Eagles allowed Rainier Beach on the other side of the 50-yard line just a few times and peppered the Viking goalie with shot after shot. “I saw even substitutes going in and putting shots on and that makes a difference,” Atlallal said.
In the 72nd minute of the game, Lindbergh put the icing on the cake with Marquez getting his second goal of the night thanks to an assist from senior Mario Sosa Blanco.
“It was great … you open it up and close it down, it feels good to do that,” he said.
For this Lindbergh team to advance in the postseason and improve on their 2022 season, “We just have to continue being a team and building off of that. I think that can help us improve,” Marquez said.
The big picture for Coach Atlallal, he said, is that it’s important for his team to realize: “It’s about mental strength and making sure you’re not jaded by results. Once you’re in records don’t matter.”