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Hit the ground running

The Beavers improve to 2-0 in 2006 under new coach Ryan Youngblood
by: MILES VANCE, FOCUSED — Beaverton senior forward Demetri Abraham works to control the ball while pressured by Forest Grove’s Erik Laukkanen during the Beavers’ 2-1 non-league home win on Monday night.

BEAVERTON - It's early to be sure, but so far, the Ryan Youngblood era of Beaverton boys soccer is off to a good start.

The Beavers won their second straight non-league match by shutout on Monday, knocking off Forest Grove 2-0 behind Muhamad Hamadi's two goals and the efforts of the Beaverton defense. The win lifted Beaverton's early-season record to 2-0 while the Vikings fell to 0-2.

While Youngblood, who replaced Keith Grosse as Beaverton coach this year, was happy with the win, he would have liked a bit more consistency along the way.

'The thing this team has the capability of is opening up the game and possessing the ball, playing it back and forth and waiting for the options to show,' Youngblood said. 'We just need to do it for the full 80 (minutes) instead of just 40.'

The Beavers controlled things for the first 10 minutes of the opening half against the Vikings Monday, then saw Forest Grove begin to force the action after that. The Vikings got one shot on goal from Erik Laukkanen that Beaver keeper Christian Boudreau saved 13 minutes into the match, and misses from Juan Vasquez, Jesse Garnica and Laukkanen.

But when Beaverton finally broke through late in the half, the Beavers broke through in a big way. Hamadi came though with the first of his two goals with 6 minutes, 25 seconds left in the first half when he took a through ball from teammate Shane Lanser in the middle of the field, found himself in a one-on-one with Forest Grove keeper Pablo Salinas, and beat Salinas easily to the left corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.

The Beavers notched their second goal just 20 seconds later, this time with Lanser sending the ball across the Viking penalty box to Hamadi where Hamadi again bested Salinas in a one-on-one opportunity.

'I was trying my best and I got two goals,' said Hamadi, a freshman forward. 'I was pretty comfortable.'

'That's our style of play and when we play that way, it's beautiful,' Youngblood said.

Beaverton nearly added a third goal late in the half when Nathan Gregg took a breakaway up the right side of the field and forced Salinas to make a diving stop to keep the score at 2-0.

The Vikings, however, regrouped in the second half and kept the Beavers on defense for most of the game's final 40 minutes. Ricardo Becerra forced a Boudreau save just three minutes into the second half, and three minutes after that, Viking junior forward J.C. Mackinnon cut the gap to 2-1. He collected a deflected pass 10 yards away from the Beaver goal and beat Boudreau to the left corner of the net with a left-footed shot with 34:04 remaining in the contest.

There were other chances for Forest Grove too, including Juan Vasquez's free kick with 31:10 left, Jason Cirlincione's hard shot from the right baseline with 2:55 remaining, and finally, Mackinnon's high, hard miss from 10 yards away with 1:40 to play.

'We were just defending most of the second half,' said Beaverton center back Danny Day. 'But we held our own back there. We all just made sure their forwards couldn't turn, no shots.'

While the Metro League doesn't open its 2006 season until Sept. 25 - Beaverton is at Hillsboro today (Thursday) at 4:30 p.m. and hosts Lincoln at 7:30 p.m. Monday in its next two non-league contests - the Beavers are feeling good about what they've accomplished so far.

'It's good to keep winning and, hopefully, by the time we get to the regular season we'll be top-notch,' Day said.

'I think we're a good team and I think we can succeed,' Hamadi said.