Mac-Hi's Rafael Villagomes, left, and La Grande's Reyes Rodriguez put on a back-to-back battle for control of the ball during Tuesday's Greater Oregon League 4A soccer match in Milton-Freewater.
Photo by Jeff Horner.
MILTON-FREEWATER — Mac-Hi has allowed just six goals all season, and that stinginess continued Tuesday night as they hosted La Grande in a Greater Oregon League boys soccer match.
The Pioneers outpassed and outran the Tigers in a 6-0 mismatch that saw the Tigers manage just a single shot on the Mac-Hi goal.
The dominance wasn’t unexpected for the league-leading Pioneers, who improved to 11-0 on the season and are currently ranked No. 2 among Oregon Class 4A schools.
But after Baker (1-7 GOL) held the Pioneers to just two goals in a 2-0 victory Saturday, Mac-Hi coach Jose Garcia was looking for Mac-Hi to get back to its dominating ways.
Mac-Hi responded. Although the Pioneers only led 2-0 heading into the break, there were scoring chances aplenty in the first half. A four-goal explosion in the first 10 minutes of the second half took whatever air there was before out of the match.
“They came with a winning mentality, and we were like, ‘We beat them before, so what?’” Garcia said of his team’s performance against the Bulldogs. “Too confident. We can’t do that. It’s towards the end of the season and we have to be playing even stronger.
“That’s what I saw today,” Garcia said. “We had a talk before the game and I think they got the message. We played great. Everybody was moving the ball, we had good runs, good crosses.”
Despite spending the majority of the first half in La Grande keeper Luke Ridder’s face, the Pioneers weren’t able to score until the 29th minute when Cristian Torres scored off a Tiger rebound to break the ice.
Gerardo Robles scored again four minutes later on an assist by Moises Manon.
Torres scored again in the 44th minute, turning the corner after a pass from Manon set him up with a run on the right side of the defense.
Manon then scored a goal of his own when the Tigers failed to clear a corner kick that dribbled past three defenders and the La Grande keeper before Manon sent it in.
Juan Martinez and Robles each scored in the 38th minute to cap the rally.
Throughout the match La Grande’s best chances at a score were pair of free kicks from midfield, but Mac-Hi keeper Saul Ortiz handled the balls without drama.
“That’s our philosophy, just keep possession and just keep dancing slowly,” Garcia said. “Sometimes we kind of get in a hurry to score and start doing stupid things they’re not supposed to. But I can’t blame them, just trying to score, score, score.”
Mac-Hi visits Ontario Saturday at 2 p.m. MDT for its last league game and hosts Riverside (Boardman, Ore.) the following Tuesday. Playoffs begin Nov. 6.