Angel sparks Eagle Point in win over Crater
CENTRAL POINT — As the opening minutes ticked off the clock at Dutch Meyer Field, the Eagle Point boys soccer team needed something to help turn the proceedings in its favor.
Leave it to one of the Eagles’ captains to provide that.
Junior midfielder Mathew Angel put his team in front in the 14th minute as part of a two-goal performance that allowed Eagle Point to settle in and relax en route to a 4-0 win over Crater on Saturday afternoon.
“We expected (Crater) to come out hard on us the first 10 or 15 minutes,” Eagle Point head coach Juan Palomares said, “so once we weathered that storm, I think we settled down a little bit and were able to play our game.”
The Eagles’ ability to flip the game in their favor came after a strong start from the Comets (0-7).
Crater outshot Eagle Point by a 5-1 margin in the opening 15 minutes of the game. But the one chance by the Eagles ended up being the thing they needed to truly settle into the game.
Angel was able to recover a ball just in front of the midfield line, shield off a would-be challenge and then he was off and running. He weaved his way through a pair of defenders, then sent a low shot to the far post that bounced off the inside of the post and in.
“I’m always thinking I need to get a goal or at least create something,” Angel said. “The goal, it really gave us confidence because we always come out a little nervous. The first few minutes of the game, we just have to get the jitters out, so it really just pushed us to go even harder.”
Eagle Point (4-1-1) doubled its lead 11 minutes before halftime through freshman forward Adam Cortes, who controlled a cross from senior Noe Cortes on the left wing and beat the onrushing keeper.
“It’s just the energy,” Crater head coach Jason Tester said. “We either come out flat and we don’t wake up until halftime or we come out on fire and then halfway through the first half we always tend to relax and let the other team play and chase them around. Then we come back out in the second half and try to put together a full second half. We’re just not figuring out how to put it all together for a full 80 minutes.
“That’s been our No. 1 issue this whole season — it’s either been a really bad half and then a really great half, or a pretty decent game with a bunch of flat in the middle.”
Even though they were down, the Comets had their chances to cut into the Eagles’ lead.
It didn’t matter if it was a shot that went just wide or one off the crossbar, Crater just couldn’t find a breakthrough.
“Shot placement, that’s a big key for us,” Tester said. “A lot of our shots are either rushed or not placed well and we tend to just fire it to the keeper. We had a few (chances) in the second half, but they were just right at the keeper. At that point, it’s all on the kids — they’ve just got to settle down, find that spot and put the ball there and not rush things because that’s where we get in trouble.”
Angel struck again in the 57th minute to put his team up 3-0, as he was able to get on the receiving end of a long free kick by Brennen Neyt, dribble around the keeper and tap in for an easy finish.
Brandon Lozano recorded a goal in the final minute of play to round out the scoring.
The four goals tied a season-high for the Eagles, who also recorded their third shutout of the season.
“Like I told the guys, it starts with the defense and it’s the foundation for our entire team,” Palomares said. “As long as we’re solid there, the rest of the team can prosper. We just make that a main focus during our training and in games.”
Eagle Point’s two goalkeepers, Arturo Cabrera and Trenton Silani, combined to make eight saves in the game as they each played a half. Cabrera recorded three stops, while Silani made five saves after coming on at the start of the second half.
Crater keeper Diego Estrada finished with six saves.
Crater finished with a slight edge in scoring chances, outshooting Eagle Point 15-14.
“I think it was just our communication back there (in defense),” Palomares said, “They were really solid communicating, and obviously our goalie came up with some big saves toward the end, but the communication was the biggest thing for us at the end.”
Reach Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @penzatopaper.