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Viks hitting their stride in timely fashion

Boys soccer goes on 4-0 ahead of GVC play

With a loss and a tie, the Forest Grove boys soccer team started out the season in less than auspicious fashion.

But since then, all the Vikings have done is rattle off four victories in a row while outscoring their opponents 11-3 as they head into the start of Greater Valley Conference play this week.

The team wrapped up its nonleague schedule last week, with a 3-2 win at Tigard — in a game that pitted father against son — last Tuesday followed by a 3-1 triumph against another former Pacific Conference foe, Newberg, last Thursday.

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: KENT FRASURE - Forest Groves Julio Echevarria (8) battles Newbergs Noah Darling for possession of the ball while Murillo Oliveira (7) and Kyle Charbonneau (19) look on last Thursday at Dick Hendricks Stadium. Both Echevarria and Oliveira scored goals in the Vikings 3-1 victory.

“We played well. We controlled the game. It was very physical,” Forest Grove coach Angelo Simonetti said after the Newberg contest. “It was a good example how we can create opportunity with the big guys in the center. We don’t have big kids. We have small kids with a lot of talent.”

Against Newberg, Forest Grove went up 2-0 at the half. A wild flurry in the second half resulted in three goals in less than a minute, but the first of those, by the Vikings, was negated by an offside call.

The Vikings got on the board in the 23rd minute after they played a long ball into Newberg’s penalty area and the keeper fouled Daniel Tapias-Garfias, one of Forest Grove’s lankier players.

Newberg’s backup keeper came in for the penalty, but Diego Gaspar-Perez slammed his shot into the upper right corner while the Tiger keeper stood flatfooted.

“It was another player that went in,” Gaspar-Perez said. “I think their other keeper was injured or something, so they had to put a player in. Then I got the ball.

“When I take penalties, I try to look on the opposite side, just try to focus on that side so I trick the keeper or something. And then I placed it on the upper corner.”

The second goal came quickly, about 90 seconds later, on another long ball played into Newberg’s final third. The ball fell right to the feet of Julio Echevarria, who took a touch or two before burying an easy shot from within the penalty area past the keeper — the starter had reentered the match — who was in a poor position to make a stop.

“I got a pass from Daniel Garfias,” Echevarria said. “I beat the defender and then I saw the open net, so I kicked it and I hit the back of the net.” NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: KENT FRASURE - Jesus Gonzalez (6) and Murillo Oliveira (7) embrace Forest Grove teammate Diego Gaspar-Perez after he scored the Vikings first goal on a penalty kick during a 3-1 win at home against Newberg last Thursday.

In the second half, the Vikings appeared to take a three-goal lead when Tapias-Garfias flicked a header into the goal. But the score was ruled offside. With Forest Grove a little unsettled by the ruling, Newberg immediately marched back the other way and Bryan Esparza scored in the 49th minute — about 35 seconds after the negated goal — to halve the visitors’ deficit.

That could have shifted the momentum. Instead, the Vikings regrouped quickly after the kickoff. They advanced the ball toward the Tigers’ goal, and less than 20 seconds after the restart, Tapias-Garfias was fouled again for another penalty kick opportunity.

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: KENT FRASURE - Forest Groves Murillo Oliveira (left) and Newbergs Kyle Charbonneau scramble for a loose ball in last Thursdays nonconference game. An exchange student from Brazil, Oliveira scored his first goal as a Viking in a 3-1 win.

This time Murillo Oliveira, an exchange student from Brazil, stepped up to take the shot, and he slotted it to the bottom left corner to put the lead back to two goals.

“In Brazil, I take the penalties for my team and I wanted to take that,” said Oliveira, whose goal was his first as a Viking. “I just stayed calm and put a ball in the goal.”

At the end of that busy sequence, Forest Grove midfielder Jesus Gonzalez was shown a red card, forcing the Vikings to play down a man the final 30-plus minutes of the contest.

And the Tigers didn’t go away, hitting the crossbar at one point, but Forest Grove was able to keep enough possession to preserve the team’s fourth consecutive victory.

Two days earlier, Gaspar-Perez also scored a penalty kick in the Vikings’ comeback victory against Tigard. Echevarria recorded the game-winner in that one, which matched Simonetti against his son Pedro Simonetti, who is the Tigers’ starting keeper.

It was another win in a good streak.

“It’s been really good, because each game we’re building up and then we’re getting more together, more chemistry,” Gaspar-Perez said of his team’s recent progress. “From the beginning, we would mess up simple stuff, and now each game we’re correcting those small errors.”

Results of the Vikings’ GVC opener against West Salem were unavailable at press deadline. Next, the team travels to South Salem for a Friday afternoon match, followed by next Tuesday’s home game against Sprague.