Newberg downs Tigard 2-0 to earn third consecutive win to open conference season

Soccer isn't always played beautifully and at least for one week, Newberg is happy that ugly wins count just as much in the standings as pretty ones.

The Tigers were certainly not on top of their game Oct. 4 at home versus Tigard, but a first-half goal from Alan Rodriguez meant they didn't have to be. SETH GORDON - Newberg goalie Nick Elias stretches to get a finger on a free kick during Newberg's 2-0 home win over Tigard Oct. 3. The Tigers have won their first three Three Rivers League contests this season and risen to No. 6 in the state rankings.

Newberg's form was especially poor in the second half, but an insurance goal from forward Nic Carsh helped the Tigers eke out a 2-0 victory that keeps them firmly entrenched in first place three games into the Three Rivers League season.

"We weren't offensively active," NHS coach M.J. Tate said. "Our No. 3 point of emphasis for the game was poise and confidence with the football. We didn't have any poise and we didn't have confidence down the stretch. That's when you control the rhythm of the game. My most talented players weren't poised, they were erratic. Our underclassmen sort of stepped up today."

Newberg did create several good scoring opportunities in the first half, but only Rodriguez was able to convert, slamming home a low cross from Carsh, who had beaten his man up the left side and driven to the end line before serving the ball up for Rodriguez.

"It was a great back door run by Alan, for sure," Tate said. "It was a good finish."

In many cases this season, the Tigers (7-2-1, 3-0 TRL) have calmly protected leads in the second half by maintaining possession for long stretches and counterattacking at opportune moments.

That wasn't the case against Tigard, as Newberg turned the ball over regularly and gave the visitors numerous free kicks with some sloppy defending.

"At some point the dam will break if we're not careful," Tate said. "We have to work on that, our tendency to stab. We can't give away free kicks in areas where they're not hurting us. There was a lot of anxiousness today, to be fair."

Carsh helped calm those nerves with a beautiful goal that put the Tigers up 2-0 with 16:25 to play.

After collecting the ball along the left sideline, underclassmen Max Testa and Christian "Chino" Morales played a nice back and forth before pushing the ball forward to Carsh, who cut into the middle of the field and fired a rocket into the left side of the goal from 20 yards out.

"That was a really good goal," Tate said. "He struck that beautifully."

Newberg finished the week as the only team in the Three Rivers League with more than one victory, as Lakeridge and Sherwood sit in a second-place tie with matching 1-0-2 league records.

The No. 7 Tigers have since beaten Canby 5-0, at home on Tuesday, and will face good tests against the Bowmen (4-4-3 overall) Friday and the defending state champion and No. 8-ranked Pacers (5-3-3 overall ) Oct. 17.

This story was updated with the result of Tuesday's contest versus Canby

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