Red card leaves Cascade one man short in second half.

by: CORY MIMMS - Darian Baughman launches the ball through a wall of a Cascade's players.Molalla’s boys soccer team defeated the Cascade Cougars 2-1 in a physical, scrappy play-in game on Saturday. Darian Baughman scored both of the Indians’ goals, and the team moved on to playoffs.

The game started at a fast pace, with both sides fighting for the win and showing their emotions on the field. The field was sloppy and muddy and there were many falls, some caused by the mud, others by fouls.

Molalla kept the ball moving in Cougar territory, and they had multiple early shots on goal but none saw the inside of the net.

The Indians found what they were looking for 15 minutes into the game though. Baughman launched the ball at the goal on a free kick. It pinged off the side rail, and Molalla took the 1-0 lead.

The Cougars pushed back moments later. Cascade drove hard through midfield and got their first real chance at a goal. Molalla’s A.J. Escalante made the save, one of many impressive saves he’d make during the game.

With less than two minutes before the half, the Cougars again pressed Molalla’s goal. The Indians’ defense got the ball away from Cascade though and sent it down field. As the last seconds of the half ticked down, Baughman raced the Cougars on a 50/50 ball, which he won.

Baughman kept his momentum flowing straight for the goal and caught Cascade’s keeper off guard. He nabbed his second goal of the game.

It was a fast and physical first half. The second half would prove to be even rougher.

The Cougars came out with the pressure on. They played hard and controlled the ball much more than they did in the first half. Thirteen minutes in, they got a free kick from midfield. It bounced into the goal, and the score closed to 2-1.

Ten minutes later, with emotions running high in the stands and on the field, one of Cascade’s players was ejected from the game for unsportsmanlike behavior and foul language.

Playing a man short, Cascade still kept the pressure on Molalla. As the clock wound down, the Indians worked hard to keep Molalla in the lead by one goal.

“It wasn’t the second half we wanted,” Coach Ryan Gates said, but they won and are ready to battle in playoffs.

Baughman was happy with how he played, he said. It wasn’t the most goals he’s scored in a game, but, as Gates put it, they were the goals the Indians needed to go to playoffs.

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