By Chet Piotrowski

Carter Gordon’s hard work paid off.

The Charleston forward, whose hustle set up a tying goal late in the first half, scored against the Hearts in the 22nd minute, helping muster his teammates forward before Blake Garrett drilled in the game-winner unassisted to lead the Trojans past Effingham, 3-2, on Monday evening.

“For me, I’ll put him up against anyone in the conference for heart, effort, energy,” Charleston head coach Josh Garrett said. “He’s a spark. He’ll get the extra ball, he’ll apply pressure to the ball even when he’s dying and it’ll create a lot of second chance opportunities. A lot of guys did well, but they feed off him. A lot of stuff runs through him.”

Gordon took the ball down the right side of the field on Charleston’s first goal, passing it to Eugene Ohba, who redirected it to Blake Garrett who then scored with just 14.6 seconds remaining in the first half.

“If it’s not a goal or an assist, you can look back at a lot of goals and see where Carter is at with how he’s pressuring,” Josh Garrett said. “The second part of the first half, he started to provide us some offense.”

Effingham started the first half scoring on a penalty kick by Armando Estrada after being tackled by a Charleston defender. Estrada buried the goal into the bottom right corner at the 26-minute mark. 

The Hearts would open the second half scoring first again at the 15 minute mark first as Osvaldo Angel took a crossing pass from the left side and slid it into a wide open goal.

Charleston’s Emilio Pucheta late took the ball down the left side, dribbling towards the defender before passing it to Gordon. Gordon then buried his shot into the bottom left corner, tying the score at the 29-minute mark.

“We got more focused when we got down 2-1, and the kids got focused and played solid, smart soccer,” Garrett said. “When both teams are tired, if you don’t play smart you’re going to wear yourself out.”

Blake Garrett took control of the ball from Effingham’s Bryan Angel and beelined down the right side of the pitch before hammering in a goal from 15 yards out at the 35-minute mark.

“Number 11 (Aly Abou-Zaid), 14 (Carter Gordon) and 24 (Blake Garrett) pushed pretty hard on us,” Effingham coach Weston Peno said. “We went to man on them – and play shadow in a sense to help with the pacing. Part of it was we tried to shorten up the ball from the back. A lot of times that will work for us. We started to get a greedy and push it forward. That’s where that pace and momentum was lost, especially in the second half.”

“If you play controlled soccer, then we’ll be fine,” Garrett said. “When we possess the ball, we’re a dangerous team. There’s eight seniors. Enjoy it. When they play relaxed, they play smarter.”

Charleston is now 3-7-1 while Effingham drops to 3-7.


1st half

Effingham – Armando Estrada goal (1)– PK 26 th min.

Charleston – Blake Garrett, goal (1), Eugene Ohba assist (1) 1 min

2nd half

Effingham  – Osvaldo Angel goal (1) 15 min.

Charleston – Carter Gordon goal (1), Emilio Pucheta asst (1) 28 min.

Charleston – Garrett unassisted goal (2) 35 min.