Renton boys soccer keeps playoff hopes alive during rocky start

The Renton High School Redhawks boys soccer team fell to the Highline Pirates 2-0 on a rainy and cold Friday night on March 24.

“I still have hope for this team. I know we have great potential,” said senior Joseph Villeda.

Renton’s record dropped to 0-3 on the year after the loss, but the KingCo standings are wide open. Five teams make the playoffs every year, so the door is still open for the Redhawks.

Last season, Renton’s year got off to a similar start. After two wins in their first three games, the Redhawks lost three in a row, bringing their record to 2-4. Renton was able to get their record to 6-6 and made the playoffs — something they hope to do this year once more.

“We had a real rough start to the season last year and overcame it. We had a really good run to end the year. So hopefully we can put things together and rebound this year,” Head Coach Aaron Howe said.

Throughout the contest against the Highline Pirates, the Redhawks struggled to possess the ball and create opportunities. Something that Renton needs is their whole team to be healthy and ready, according to coach Howe: “We took two injuries from our captains, one came back tonight. The other is getting ready … We just need our full squad.”

One of those players that returned was Joseph Villeda.

“It’s good to be out there. It was hard not being out there in our game against Lindbergh,” Villeda said.

Arguably Renton’s best stretch of the game came in the tail end of the second half. In the last 12 minutes of the game, Renton created lots of offensive pressure on Highline. The Redhawks tallied more shots in that span than the entire first half.

Going into halftime, the Redhawks had momentum, but nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. At the break, the two squads were knotted in a scoreless tie.

“We had a good first half,” said coach Howe.

Renton came out to start the second half in a new formation, but the formation didn’t help and left the Redhawks exposed. Early in the second half, Highline got on the board in the 45th minute with a goal from Onnixon Palacios, dicing the Renton backline.

“I think we got rattled psychologically. I think we got hit in the mouth and we didn’t respond as well as I would have liked,” Howe said.

Highline kept their foot on the pedal, applying pressure to the backline. In the 61st minute, Highline struck again, this time off the right foot of Alan Melendez De Los Santos, beating Renton goalkeeper Juan Diaz.

The Redhawks had a few good chances fueled by striker Nathan Chavez and Joseph Villeda. But no goals would come for Renton, as they still search for their first goal of the season.

Renton’s next game is March 28 on the road against Evergreen, which is the other winless team in the 2A KingCo league.