By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.—With 14 players all season, West Salem had found themselves two points behind McNary for third-place in the conference standings and had settled in following Fisher Vanslyke third minute goal in the 4-1 defeat to the Celtics Monday night.
Their 4-4-2 formation had challenged McNary’s aggressive style for the first-half of the game, the Titans’ Yahir Bernal tying the game up at one in the 13th minute. Keeping the Celts offense off the board over the 27 minutes in between Vanslyke’s goal and Eddie Martinez’ goal in the 30th that gave McNary a 2-1 halftime lead.
“We tried to play on to Yahir and Kaden (Young) and connect with a 4-4-2, but (McNary) knows. They know Kaden,” said West Salem Head Coach Eddy Soboll. “I don’t have subs so I keep playing with what I have and what we’ve been practicing. It is what it is. With this season, 14 players on the roster it’s a pretty good season.
“We’re 4-6…we still have two games to go with Woodburn and Silverton. Woodburn is a different ballpark. I try to schedule them every year, I love playing them. The quality of soccer that they play, south of Portland Woodburn is the best we have.”
With the crossover with the Mid-Willamette Conference, and the Bulldogs moving back up to 5A from 4A, it creates an opportunity against one of the State’s best at any classification to get better and see where they are at.
The Titans have them Thursday, McNary Saturday. For the Celtics, who have the Foxes Thursday night, came out of the halftime break wanting to add to their score. Not wanting Bernal or Young to lead a second-half rally as they did when the two teams met back on March 15.
Martinez made it 3-1 in the 49th minute as McNary’s defense continued to shut down the West Salem offensive attack. Building the momentum for the big week ahead.
“It felt good, we practiced really hard and all we had to do was take it into the game and that’s what we did. We finished whatever we had,” said Martinez, who finished with a ‘brace’ in the game. “I think we’re ready. I’m just excited about the next two games, we played really well today and I hope we can carry it into the last two games as well.”
Johann Singh Sanchez added to the Celtics lead in the closing minutes as McNary improved to 5-3-2 on the year.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald