Vikings post a 6-0 victory over the Quakers with the start of conference play up next

Pacific Conference boys soccer teams, look out — Reggie Lopez and the Vikings are ready.

Having undergone knee surgery in March, Forest Grove’s all-star senior forward showed his recovering form by notching a second-half hat trick against Franklin last Thursday. Powered by Lopez’s barrage, the Vikings rounded out their nonconference slate with a 6-0 torching of the Quakers at Forest Grove High School.

“We’re growing, we’re getting there,” coach Angelo Simonetti said. “We’re getting faster and better and putting some balls in the goals.”

The Vikings (3-2-1 overall) demonstrated that progression over the course of the match. They led just 1-0 at halftime, but Lopez supplied plenty of breathing room for the home side with three goals inside the first 20 minutes of the second half.

“The second half, I was just hungry for goals,” said Lopez, who was a first team all-conference selection in 2012.

To usher in the second-half scoring, Lopez recorded his fourth goal of the season on a penalty kick in the 47th minute. After having been fouled in the penalty area by the Franklin goalkeeper, Lopez stepped up and calmly struck the ball into the right side of the net.

His other two goals came in quick succession on displays of deft finishing ability. In the 54th minute, he ran onto a through ball from Pedro Rodriguez in the left side of the penalty area and flicked a shot into the lower right corner of the net. Just over a minute later, he struck again, taking a pass from Jesus Gonzalez before turning and firing into the left side of the goal.

“I started off bad (in the) first half. I wasn’t really focusing on the game,” said Lopez, whose surgery was to the outside meniscus in his left knee. “The second half, I just started focusing, just playing how I usually play.”

The scoring binge came after a first period in which Forest Grove created plenty of chances but cashed in on only one. In the 27th minute, Omar Lopez got his head on a free kick served by Cristian Romero into the penalty area from the right side of the field, well into the Vikings’ final third. Brandon Olvera had been fouled to set up the set piece opportunity.

“I knew I had to make the run, and I just kind of went in and looked for the ball like I’m supposed to do, and I just headed it in,” Omar Lopez said of his game-winner.

Later on, Rodriguez got into the scoring act in the 66th minute. After Omar Lopez’s shot was blocked by the Quakers defense, the ball ricocheted right to Rodriguez, who sent a low, driven bullet from distance into the bottom left corner of the net.

The Vikings’ final goal came with 23 seconds remaining, when Garrett Johnson’s corner kick was booted into the net by a Franklin defender.

On the defensive side of the ball, Ricardo Torres was not forced to make any difficult saves and recorded the shutout, Forest Grove’s second of the season.

The Vikings open conference play this week by facing last year’s co-champions in back-to-back matches. On Tuesday, the Vikings hosted Tualatin (results were not available at press deadline). On Thursday, Forest Grove travels to McMinnville. The squad is back at home next Tuesday to entertain Century.

Said Omar Lopez: “From here on, it’s going to be do our best and try to get that ‘W.’”

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