McNary midfielder Oscar Chavez looks to keep possession of the ball (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).
After digging themselves into a hole, the McNary boys soccer team nearly staged an incredible comeback in the final moments of the game.
Trailing 3-0 with less than 15 minutes remaining, the Celtics got a pair of goals over a five-minute stretch to get within one. But in the end, it wasn't enough as McNary fell to Newberg 3-2 on Monday, Sept. 20.
With the loss, McNary falls to 4-2 on the season.
“It was clear that we didn't play that well,” McNary head coach Miguel Camarena said. “Usually this team has possession of the ball for most of the game, but we didn't today, and when we don't have the ball we are in trouble.”
McNary had numerous chances to score in the first 40 minutes but were unable to convert.
“Part of it is concentration,” Camarena said. “Sometimes we think that we are better than we are. In a game like this, when you're not 100% concentrated when you go in, these things happen.”
Newberg, on the other hand, converted on a set-piece in the 13th minute to go up 1-0, and later would take advantage of a misplay by the McNary back line to put another one on the board — both goals were scored by Daniel Valdez-Espinoza
“We had a couple mistakes in the back that cost us,” Camarena said.
McNary came out with more aggression in the second half, getting off five shots-on-goal in the first 13 minutes of the half, but still couldn't break the seal.
Despite playing with an extra man in the back, the Tigers were able to push numbers forward to score their third goal on a header by Henry Murray.
However, the Celtics finally responded to score their first goal of the game in the 67th minute. McNary was awarded a penalty kick after a Newberg defender was called for a handball inside the goalie box, and Celtics forward Hudson Brunk took advantage of the gift, torching the right side of the net with a goal to put McNary within two.
Just over four minutes later, the Celtics got on the board again as Brunk sent a beautiful cross over the goalie's head that landed just a couple feet away from the net. Jorge Ruiz was able to get the touch on the ball and convert on the point-blank goal to cut Newberg's lead to 3-2.
Camarena said the key to McNary's offensive surge was changing their formation from a 3-5-2 to a 4-3-3.
“We were able to attack more. It worked when we changed strategy. But it wasn't enough to come all the way back,” Camarena said.
McNary had two more cracks at a goal to force a draw in the final three minutes, but couldn't get off a clean look.
McNary will host Crescent Valley in their final non-conference game on Friday, Sept. 24 at 4:30 p.m.
Matt Rawlings: [email protected]