By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.—With them roughly halfway through their preseason slate, three game of their seven non-conference games, the McNary Celtics Boys Soccer team have already gone through a gauntlet of sorts.
Central has been a playoff caliber team in 5A to start the season, their second game of the year against Lake Oswego was against a quarterfinal squad with their third game of the year against defending 6A Champions Westview has been a great way for the Celts to come together as a unit.
And after reaching the first round the year before, falling to number one Jesuit 2-0 this tough preseason already has helped McNary see what they can do this season.
“Oh it’s really helpful because especially Westview is the defending State Champions from last year, now we have a lot more confidence going into starting league games,” said Sebastian Lopez. “Saying that we got to tie with the State Champions and we did it in a good way too.”
There was a sense of a quarterfinal game at McNary Tuesday night against the Wildcats when Jovaine Bravo scored the first goal of the game in the opening half against Westview’s defense. Entering halftime, that was the lone goal with the Celtics leading it 1-0 entering the second half.
Both teams’ had their cracks, McNary to extend their lead and the ‘Cats to tie things up. No luck.
That was, until the 27:52 mark of the game when Westview’s Carson Carraher tied the match at one-apiece.
That Carraher goal got both back into the game more so than it was prior. The physicality picked up, the aggression was there, it was as if the goal was a kick in the rear as both teams began scrapping for the ball.
Frustrations were there for the McNary offense with opportunities there, but they couldn’t finish it. Luis Lopez showed some fancy footwork to open up a shot, it was saved.
Alex Salazar received a pass towards the goal with 3:30 left in the game, it sailed over the top bar of the goalies net. You could tell that the Celtics were right there to say that they walked away from the game with their first win of the season and rights that they got one past the defending State Champs.
Chances like those weren’t going to always going to be there with how hard the Wildcats were pushing back to the other side of the field.
“We know that they were going to be good because they are the defending State Champions. So we knew it was going to be a good game,” said Jovaine Bravo. “We need to practice on finishing. These three games, that’s how we scored the goal just finishing.
“We dominate the game, but we don’t score any goals and without scoring you can’t win.”
Bravo, Miguel Bravo, Luis Lopez, Salazar were up front trying to push the ante against the Westview defense. But when the ‘Cats did get close to the McNary goal, Sebastian Lopez, Jesus Lopez and that McNary defense met the challenge and made sure that one stayed a one and nothing more.
“I feel like this game we stepped up and we started to work together, it’s the third game into the season and we all mixed together better and we’re practicing every day,” said Sebastian Lopez. “We’re all together and it’s turning out pretty well so far. So far we haven’t lost at home yet.”
It worked as the game ended with a 1-1 results. Not what either team wanted, but it’s early in the 2018 season as both teams go their separate ways.
For McNary, it’s off to Canby to play the Cougars while Westview host Reynolds with both team’s non-league schedules in full force.