Sandy boys fall 4-1 against Cleveland despite leading in the opening minutes

by: SANDY POST: PARKER LEE - Sandys Wyatt Edwards tries to break down the middle of the field.The Sandy boys’ soccer team outplayed a quality Cleveland squad for 15 minutes, but it was only a matter of time before the Warriors got their act together. Cleveland brushed aside its sluggish start and raced to a 4-1 victory over the Pioneers on Thursday.

“Cleveland has consistently been one of the top teams in state for years, and they will be one of the favorites this year,” Sandy coach Garet Luebbert said. “I thought we played well. They are a better all-around team than we are right now.”

Sandy briefly stunned Cleveland shortly after the match got going. Just 3:30 into the contest, the Pioneers earned a corner kick and a chance to draw first blood. Alexis Marin booted from the corner and sent the ball sailing towards the Cleveland goalkeeper. Sandy’s Cristian Dominguez dashed in from the left and deflected the ball past the keeper, just inside the right post, to give the Pioneers a 1-0 advantage in their home opener.

The Pioneers held that lead until the 17-minute mark, despite a few close calls on strikes from Cleveland’s forwards. The Warriors then got rolling and netted three goals, one on a free kick and two rockets from the left side, in a 12-minute stretch to take a commanding 3-1 lead going into halftime.

“We chose to play them straight up. Even after the early 1-0 lead we did not commit more players defensively,” Luebbert said. “In fact, we played a majority of the game with lower numbers than usual in the back, attempting to put pressure on them to try and create more goal-scoring opportunities for us.”

Sandy cleaned things up defensively in the second half, surrendering just one goal in the final 40 minutes.

The Pioneers generated scoring chances for themselves in both halves, but the Warriors’ stout backfield kept them from converting.

“I was pleased with our scoring opportunities, against what will likely be the best defense we will see all season,” Luebbert said.

Sandy returns home Thursday to take on Canby. The Pioneers then host Forest Grove on Tuesday before traveling to Tualitan for their final non-conference contest on September 24.

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