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Boys soccer: Phoenix ends Indians' playoff run

Phoenix scores three unanswered goals, withstands late goal from Devin Timmons


Photo Credit: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Tribe goalkeeper Isaac Hamm dives after the ball midway through the second half. After the game, Hamm was notified of a major accomplishment - Cowapa League keeper of the year.The Indians gave up a goal in the waning seconds of the first half and could never recover, falling 3-1 to Phoenix in the first round of the soccer playoffs and cutting short what has been one of the best seasons in history for boys soccer in Scappoose.

Several times this season, the Indians have battled back from a deficit. They fought to tie up Gladstone in the preseason, came from two goals down to draw Blanchet Catholic late in the season and perhaps most notably, managed to beat Astoria after trailing by a goal in the final third of the match.

But when Phoenix knocked in a goal in the 40th minute to take a lead on Wednesday afternoon, the Indians were put in a precarious and unfamiliar position. After the goal, they were left with just a handful of seconds before the break, allowing the score and the resulting energy to “stew” for 10 extra minutes.

The Pirates came out in the second half as fired up as they had been for the first 40 minutes, netting a goal after six minutes of play on a missed assignment directly in front of the goal. Phoenix got a cross in to Fernando Rodriguez for the easy score and five minutes later got a third goal from Liam Macleod to take a 3-0 lead. It was a bigger deficit than the Indians had seen since last season, and it proved to be more than the high-powered offense could handle.

Phoenix controlled the midfield for much of the match, stifling attempts by Scappoose to move the ball through on the attack. Similarly, seniors Asa Flanagan and Devin Timmons found little space to work with in the attacking third, and managed only a handful of chances in front of the Pirates' goal.

“I think we only had one shot going into the half, and that was something we covered at halftime. We hadn't really tested their keeper,” head coach Scott Stanton said after the match. “We'd seen some stuff on these guys before the game and read up on them and all that, and nothing was different. Pretty much everything was how we expected, it was just a matter of executing. We weren't really committing numbers forward. We seemed timid in the first half, and we weren't confident enough to commit the numbers forward and get on the attack.”

The lone score for Scappoose came in the 72nd minute. A wild scrum in the six yard box dropped the ball to Timmons' feet for an easy shot into the open net to pull a goal back for Scappoose.

As the match ended and the Tribesmen gathered near their bench, hardly a word was spoken aside from Stanton asking the seniors to lead the postgame stretches — for the final time. An eerie silence fell on the squad as they sullenly mulled over the game, held back tears or simply stared into the distance. The hurt will fade with time as the season's many accomplishments begin to come to light.

Stanton quietly reminded the Indians of the season's finer moments — 41 goals scored, the first league championship in school history, making it to the round of 16 — and left the team to huddle up and send “TRIBE!” echoing about the vacant stadium at Liberty High School.

“We'll definitely continue to grow, still, as a team,” Stanton said. “We're losing some pretty key seniors that are going to make things difficult, but I don't think it will go back at all, or anything. We're going to keep fighting, keep trying to stay on top.”

All the accolades aside, including Stanton as Coach of the Year, Isaac Hamm as Keeper of the Year and eight players named to the all-Cowapa League team, Stanton said the biggest step didn't come on the pitch. It came in the minds of each individual player, something that will translate down the road.

“That was sort of the biggest hump that I've found, the biggest challenge that I've found since I took over — just giving them that mentality,” he said. “You can do it, you are a winning team. You have to believe in yourself, and so now, we're the team in Cowapa with a target on our back. We're the defending champs now.”

SUMMARY

OSAA First Round

Liberty High School, Hillsboro

Phoenix 3, Scappoose 1

PHX 1 2 — 3

SCA 0 1 — 1

Goals:

PHX — Joel Mereida-Ford 40'

PHX — Fernando Rodriguez 46'

PHX — Liam Macleod 51'

SCA — Devin Timmons 72'

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