By Jeremy McDonald
SILVERTON, Ore.– If there was anything that the North Salem-Silverton Boys Soccer 4-2 showed, it was that whoever plays either team in the postseason are going to have their hands full to keep up with either team.
As physical as it was, Max Linn’s 36th minute goal was the lone difference maker entering halftime with the score 1-0.
The Vikings Jakob Jensen made six first half saves within the first 30 minutes of the game while his Foxes counterpart in Carsen Koch had to do the same as North Salem too brought the intensity to his doorstep often in the opening 40 minutes of the game.
Jensen made a quick save the first minute of the second half to give his offense a chance with North driving down the pitch, but an offside call gave Silverton the ball back.
But both sides traded goals by the 51st minute, first Alexis Luna Ramirez tied it and that was followed by Anthony Fleshman’s goal in the 51st to hand the Foxes a 2-1 lead.
“We always, if they score at the beginning at the half, try to say ‘In the next five minutes we’re going to get a score. The next five minutes we’re going to dominant’,” said Linn as Silverton looked to add an insurance goal on North Salem. “We just took it five minutes at a time and it worked because we got another quick goal right away.”
However, the Foxes couldn’t pull away or North Salem tie the match up at two for much of the second half after Fleshman’s 51st minute goal as both teams battled it out in front of both squads fanbases.
It was Silverton that struck first, scoring twice within a few seconds of another when Britton Ullen and Linn put the Foxes up 4-1 with 16 minutes to go in the game.
Where most teams would fight for just another goal to build momentum for the next game, the Viks did the contrary. They kept pushing like it was still 2-1 and picked up a little more confidence when Tristyn Schunk-Kosokie got North Salem back to within two with 12:42 left in the game as the Vikings got Silverton reeling on their heels with it being crunch time.
“It’s the best kind of soccer there is to play, it just all high-intensity. Best feeling there is to play, putting everything on the line, it’s the best,” said Schunk-Kosokie.
With the feeling of the game within reach, the Vikings fought through tough break after tough break.
Benjamin Garcia-Gutierrez’ goal barely going over the top crossbar with six and some change left and a controversial offsides call on Garcia-Gutierrez’ goal with 1:38 to go that had North Salem asking for answers after the game for clarification on the call, both could’ve knotted the game up at four with time left to possibly do further damage.
But through all of that, the Viks kept pushing through hoping for a break before the final whistle blew.
“The game just didn’t go our way, a couple of lazy plays in the beginning of the second half, got down a couple of goals,” said Schunk-Kosokie. “But , I mean we did everything we could to fight back in and we got a couple of calls that didn’t go our way but we mounted a comeback, it just didn’t go our way today.”
“My heart was beating pretty fast,” said Koch with a nervous smile about those closing moments. “(North Salem) had a couple good shots, but our defense was strong enough to block and to keep it where it was.”
When the final whistle blew, the Foxes walked out with a 4-2 victory to bounce back from their first loss of the season to Corvallis on Thursday as they have to turn-and-burn for another tough challenge in West Albany Wednesday.
North Salem, who’s been battling some injuries as of late, will have a week off to heal up in preparation for their October 16 game versus Dallas on the road.