By Jordan Kroeger, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — If the Pirates had forgotten what it felt like to lose, they sure don’t anymore.
In fact, they’ll remember Monday’s feeling for a while as they head into winter break on a 16-day layoff.
Cape Coral High School snapped Port Charlotte’s seven-game unbeaten streak with a 3-0 District 3A-13 victory on the road. Adao Miranda scored two goals and Juan Parra added another for the Seahawks, who jumped the Pirates for second place in the district standings in the teams’ regular-season district finale.
“That’s a good team. That’s a really good team. I can’t say anything negative but that’s a good team we ran into tonight,” Port Charlotte coach Joe Roca said. “It’s just unfortunate that we didn’t play well tonight. We really didn’t. We were not the team that we were supposed to be tonight.”
Defensive miscues cost Port Charlotte on all three of Cape Coral’s goals, although the first one was aided by an extremely questionable call.
It all went down when Andre Blanco took a free kick from just outside the left side of the penalty box in the 14th minute. The ball bounced through multiple players on both teams and it appeared to go out of bounds.
The Pirates (11-3-1, 5-2 District 3A-13) certainly thought so, but the referee disagreed.
The whistle never blew and Miranda took advantage, putting his foot on the ball and into net, catching goalkeeper Hunter Cole off guard and putting the Seahawks (10-3-3, 5-1-1) in front 1-0.
“Our guys have to wait for the whistle. It doesn’t matter. If you don’t hear that whistle then keep playing,” Roca said.
The Seahawks doubled their lead in the 29th minute when Kevin Retana chucked a throw-in to an uncovered Parra, who drilled the ball in mid-air, watched it bounced off the right post and into the net for a 2-0 advantage. That lead held until the 45th minute when Miranda struck for his second goal on an assist from Jose Parra to triple Cape Coral’s score.
Although the loss drops the Pirates to third in the districts standings, they’ll still face either Island Coast, Dunbar or Lemon Bay in the district quarterfinals. A victory there would likely set up a rematch with Cape Coral in the district semifinals for a spot in the regional playoffs.
“I told them you’re going to see this team in districts. You’re definitely going to see them because we’re still in the top three [in the standings] so I’m not really worried about it but I would’ve loved to see them win this game. That would’ve been nice and it would’ve showed that we can compete with these guys,” Roca said.
The Pirates actually outshot the Seahawks 6-3 in the first half, but could never convert an opportunity against Cape Coral goalkeeper Antonio Garcia-Castro, who finished with three saves on the night. Cape Coral controlled possession most of the night and ultimately outshot Port Charlotte 10-8.
“I’ll say it again, the best team won tonight,” Roca said. “But we’ll come back. And we’ll be ready.”