By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.– It seemed like a broken record almost that the Stayton Eagles Boys Soccer team came to life in the second half, but when they came out for the second half down 1-nil to McNary, their aggressiveness and being awoke by their Hall of Fame-isc Head Coach; they quickly turned the game around in the final 40 minutes.
Alex Cramer, a fixture on the Eagle Soccer team the past few years, admittingly said that they’re traditionally a second-half team. But it was their second half performance that caught him by surprised as Cramer scored the lone Stayton goal of the game.
“It wasn’t really surprising,” Cramer said of the first half. “But our second half looked really good and I mean better than our team last year when we were firing at all cylinders. I mean we were missing here and there, but it definitely shows that we’re a better team this year and definitely contending.”
And this is without one of their best defenders who’s still mending up from injury from late last season.
During that second half and after Cramer’s goal, the Eagles were aggressive with a 6A Celts team that finished sixth in a Greater Valley Conference that had three teams in the Top-7 and another two in the Top 18 in the State in 2016 that numerous breakaways and strong play.
Courage Minten had one-, or two-of those breakaway/fastbreak-like lanes at the net that could’ve gave Stayton the lead if connected, one of the major things the Eagles need to work on in the week before the South Albany game in Albany next Tuesday.
“Just when we get the chances, we just need to finish them,” said Minten. “I got a couple of chances, I tried but I couldn’t finish them. We just need to work on getting open and getting the ball to the wing and getting them through the middle and finishing the chances.”
Another big issue pointed out by Head Coach Chris Shields was the team’s conditioning, but that’ll come along as they turn their spring sport conditioning back into soccer conditioning over the next few weeks leading into August’s practices for the Fall.
But as Cramer pointed out and echoed what goalie Jose Navarro said post-game, it’s good to have a game to see where they are at as a measuring stick to improve over the next few days for the Rebels on the road.
“Well it’s always nice to have at least one-game so you know what your working with and where your at,” said Cramer. “So I think we’ll take from this game pretty positive because we didn’t lose, we tied and it was against a pretty decent team and South Albany will be a step up but I’m use we can focus and step it up to meet them.”
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald