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Apollos start to pick up the pace after slow start

After starting league at 0-2, Sunsets boys win two straight


CEDAR MILL — In any sports season, there are always bumps in the road.

But the Sunset boys soccer team didn’t know that their bumps would come right at the start of the process.

The Apollos, one of the 2012 Metro League favorites, opened league play at 0-2, but have rebounded nicely since then with two straight victories, including last week’s 1-0 home win over Aloha and Monday’s 4-2 home win over Beaverton.

by: MILES VANCE - GO TO GOAL - Sunset senior Louis Tanguy races upfield while chased by Aloha senior Nate Ashby during the Apollos 1-0 Metro League home win last week.

“We definitely should have done better in our first two games, that’s how we felt, so this first win in Metro felt great,” said Sunset senior Louis Tanguy, who scored the winning goal against Aloha on Sept. 27. “We’re just making our way back up.”

“We hoped to go at least 4-0 in this game, but ... we’re just building this season,” added Sunset senior Eric Zechenelly. “It’s just working together as a team.”

Sunset’s two recent wins lifted the Apollos’ Metro record to 2-2 and into third place in league, while Aloha — which fell to Jesuit 2-1 on Monday — dropped to 1-3.

Still, the Warriors were proud of their efforts against the Apollos and left knowing that they can compete with the league’s top teams.

“We’ve got a very solid team. We’ve just got to put the ball in the net,” said Aloha senior goalkeeper Jorge Rodriguez. “We just need to be a little cleaner in the back and we should have a good season.”

“When you concentrate and you try to play simple, you get (good) opportunities like we did,” added junior midfielder Alex Garcia. “It just wasn’t our night tonight.”

Sunset took hold of the game right away against the Warriors, earning an early corner kick and making that opportunity count. The Apollos sent junior Kai Sakamoto to take the kick from the right side of the field, and he knocked a looping ball toward the center of the Warrior goalmouth. The ball bounced off a couple players and then came right to Tanguy who found space in the crowd to knock it home just 5 minutes and 9 seconds into the contest.

“Kai played the ball in, it took a couple deflections and I just followed the run I was supposed to take in the first place,” Tanguy said. “The ball bounced back up toward me and I just slotted it in.”

That quick start gave the Apollos hope that they might get their offense untracked for the rest of the game too, and Sunset created a couple other great scoring opportunities later in the first half. Junior Erick Moreno Cruz had the first of those when he took a long pass that slipped by the Aloha defense and set up a one-on-one opportunity that Rodriguez stopped with 8:30 to go before halftime.

Sakamoto had a great chance at a two-goal lead with 2:25 to go in the half when his teammates set him up on the left side of the Aloha goal in the Warrior penalty box, but his attempt missed just wide right.

The Warriors, too, had chances in the first half, the best of those a hard drive from the left side of the Sunset penalty box by Gustavo Mendoza that was stopped by Bernard Palma.

After watching Sunset hold the upper hand in the first half, Aloha turned the tide in the night’s final 40 minutes. While the Warriors failed to score, they created two great chances that might have changed the game’s final score. The first of those came on a 30-yard free kick by Franklin Cordon that Palma just deflected away with 16 minutes left to play, while the second came when Mendoza made a run up the left seam and blasted a hard shot that Palma stopped with 2:30 left on the clock.

“After the half, we relaxed and started playing our game and we stopped letting them play their game,” Rodriguez said. “And we just stopped what they did on their counterattacks.”

“It was just the talk we had and the rest we had at halftime,” Garcia explained. “They told us what we were doing wrong and what we had to do to play better and we applied it the second half and it helped.”

Sunset, meanwhile, was glad to secure its first win but determined to keep moving forward as well.

“We know we have the potential to compete at the top of the league and into playoffs, so this first win feels and great and hopefully we’ll get more in the future,” Tanguy said.

“We hoped to put a bunch away, but at the end of the game the scoreboard only showed one,” Zechenelly said. “That just comes down to finishing and putting chances away.”

In upcoming games, Aloha hosts Southridge at 7:30 p.m. tonight (Thursday), while Sunset plays at Westview at 7:30 p.m. tonight.

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, please go to www.milesvance.exposuremanager.com.



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