Jose Barranco-Loureda steals the ball from a North Salem High School player during the game Tuesday, Sept. 18. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

McNary High School’s boys varsity soccer team nearly pulled out it’s first win on the season in a game with West Albany High School Thursday, Sept. 13, but a second-half red card left the team in the lurch and settling for a 2-2 tie.

McNary took a 2-0 lead in the first half with goals by Jose Daniel Caballero in the 30th and 32nd minutes. Caballero was assisted by Devin Williams on the first goal and Reece Braatz on the second.

“We did well attacking in the first half and not letting them get past our defense,” Caballero said.

McNary lost a player in the second half to a red card foul for slide tackling from behind. It left the Celts down a man for the last 30 minutes of the game, but that was no excuse said Miguel Camarena, McNary head coach.

“We scored two goals in the first half, which is one way of saying we should have won the game. The two goals in the second half shouldn’t have happened. Even playing 30 minutes one player down, we should be able to win that game,” he said.

The Bulldogs closed the gap to 2-1 in the 48th minute and then knotted it for the 2-2 final.

Goalkeep Ty Wyatt hauled in six saves for the Celts.

McNary faced Madison High School earlier in the week and came up with a 1-0 loss.

“We just got unlucky with a few balls hitting the post,” said McNary’s Reece Braatz. “The ball just didn’t cooperate with us that day.”

The Senators netted the only goal of the game in the 34th minute. Wyatt had four saves.

“We didn’t win, but we had a lot of passing and more control than them,” said Isaiah Santana.

Santana and Braatz said the team was miles ahead of where they finished last season.

“We didn’t talk as much and we got scored on because of that, but this year we’ve amped up the defense and it’s been overall better,” Santana said.

Braatz was most pleased with the defensive toughness the team has displayed in its preseason games.

“All the goals on us were mental mistakes, we let go of our focus and it cost us. Defense has kept us in the game and we’re getting a lot better with switching the ball,” he said. “I want to get some more shots on goal. We’ll get a chance and then a little hesitation means we miss it.”

The team has done a good job of creating scoring opportunities, but not as well when it comes to finishing, Camarena said. He was also concerned about losing possession of the ball in last week’s games.

“We have a team with great skill and that shouldn’t be happening. If they can show that again, we’ll see what happens,” he said.