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Boys soccer preview: Scappoose hosts Phoenix in first round

Scappoose and Phoenix will kick at 1:30 p.m. at Liberty High School


If winning the first stand-alone league title in school history wasn't enough to capture the state's attention for the Scappoose boys, they have a second chance to make noise with the start of the OSAA Class 4A postseason. The Indians will “host” Phoenix at Liberty High School at 1:30 p.m. in what head coach Scott Stanton believes might be their first-ever trip to the round of 16. The winner moves on to face the winner of the No. 1 Henley-Newport match on Saturday afternoon.

Here are six things to know ahead of the round of 16:

Switcheroo: The Indians have scored 40 goals this season, which is a massive offensive bump up from their 24-score campaign last year. They also allowed far fewer, giving up only 22 after surrendering 47 goals in the 2013 season. Much of it can be attributed to a far more experienced back line, one which Stanton says may be one of the best in Class 4A.

Goalkeeping: The summer transformed Tribe keeper Isaac Hamm into the best goalkeeper in the Cowapa League, and one of the better players in the state when between the posts. The thing is, what with the stoutness of the back line in front of him, he hardly ever has to touch the ball. When he's forced to make a save, it's often an easy scoop and toss. Phoenix has the talent and experience to test Hamm, and we may finally get to see what Stanton has been raving about all season long.

Close matches: While Scappoose has rolled through the last set of Cowapa League matches, close matches have been the norm for Phoenix. The Pirates played in six matches decided by a single goal, and twice won by shootout, as the Sky-Em league doesn't allow for ties.

Penalty kicks: It's both the easiest and the hardest shot in soccer — the penalty kick. And whether it's in the middle of the game or after two overtime sessions, pressure to score can end up sending a shot over the ball or sending it wide. Scappoose has had a handful of penalty kicks on fouls in the box this season, but hasn't been involved in a penalty shootout in recent memory. One can expect seniors Asa Flanagan and Devin Timmons, who have presumably taken the majority of the attempts for Scappoose this season, to do well, but what of the next eight players?

Scoring: There's a reason Phoenix has played in so many close games. Their defensive numbers just about match with Scappoose — aside from a 5-0 loss to No. 1 Henley in the season finale — but the Pirates have netted only 29 goals this season. The 29 goals accounts for the two winning goals scored in their two shootouts, but Phoenix is a team chalk full of raw, individual talent. They'll be flashy and a little fancy, but it remains to be seen whether it will translate into scoring opportunities against a blue-collar Indian back line.

Outlook: While Scappoose comes into this match as an underdog to No. 7 Phoenix, the Pirates' result against Seaside in the play-in round is fairly telling. Sure, it was an amped-up Scappoose team that blanked Seaside 7-0 to clinch a league title, but the Pirates inched past Seaside in comparison with a 3-1 win. A focused Indian side has every chance of upsetting the favored Pirates and advancing to the quarterfinals on Saturday for what may well be the first time in school history.

Note: Those attending the match should park on the west end in the "student" parking lot and enter the stadium from that side. Gates are locked on the east end.

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