Despite losing to Lake Oswego by a 3-2 score Oct. 13, Canby boys soccer coach Ryan McCormack called it "probably our best complete performance of the season."
The Cougars had lost to LO in the first round by a 4-0 count, so Wednesday's performance, if just from a score standpoint, was a marked upgrade.
"We played good defense early but went down 2-0 on some turnovers in our own defensive third," McCormack explained. "After that, we started connecting passes much more, connecting several long pass strings and generating several chances on goal."
That improved play seemed to portend some offensive fireworks from the Cougars in the second half. And they would get it.
Senior RIley Hemsi-Walters made his return to the field for the first time this year after recovering from a surgery last Spring and gave Canby an immediate boost, according to the coach.
"We dominated the first 20 minutes of the second half. Junior Mario Bautista got into the box after a nice build-up and generated a PK through his efforts that senior captain Cristian Sanchez Ramirez converted to bring us back to 2-1," McCormack said.
Ten minutes later, Sanchez played in junior captain Vladimir Bernal Lopez, who dribbled through three or four defenders at the top of the box and slotted a pretty shot into the corner to bring the score back to 2-2. At that point, the game was truly on.
"With five minutes left, Lake Oswego generated a quick counter and finished a nice shot at the end of the run to take the 3-2 lead," McCormack explained. "We generated two more chances in the last five minutes, but we were unable to convert either. Overall, I'm really happy with the way we played tonight, and I'm excited to keep this momentum going forward into the rest of the season and into next year."
The Cougars are 1-8 in league play and 1-10 overall this season.
Tualatin 6, Canby 0
Canby got its week off to a tough start, dropping a 6-0 decision at Tualatin on Oct. 11.
"It was not our best game," McCormack said. "We started well, but some mental errors cost us some early goals. We went into half down 2-0. After the half, we had to press and push a little more."
As a result, the Cougars got stretched and the game got away from them in the second half.
"Senior David Villegas was incredible in net, with several amazing saves again to keep the game close early," McCormack said.
The Cougars are at Oregon City on Oct. 18, then return home for an Oct. 20 match with Tigard. They finish off the regular season Oct. 25 at West Linn.
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