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The Bulldogs were unable to overcome a 3-0 first half deficit in their fifth loss of the season.

The Bulldogs had their work cut out for them when they hosted the visiting Corvallis boys soccer team Tuesday, Oct. 19.

The Spartans had rattled off six straight league victories against Mid-Willamette Conference (MWC) foes heading into the game with Woodburn. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, battled their way to a 4-2 league record and third place in the MWC. Both teams were ranked in the top 10 at 5A.

It was destined to be a battle.

PMG FILE PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Woodburns boys soccer team suffered a tough loss to the visiting Corvallis Spartans on Tuesday, Oct. 19.

Corvallis came out swinging in the first half. The visiting squad got on the board by making a goal off a set piece play and didn't relent. The first 40 minutes were fairly one-way traffic, as Woodburn went down 3-0 and had to play out of a deficit. The Bulldogs struggled to connect passes and look for opportunities in combinations, according to Woodburn head coach Leroy Sanchez.

"It's like they forgot to look for each other to play one-two combination," Sanchez said. "Our combination play was lost and that's what our strength is: to build and play and find each other and pass and move, one-two, and get into the final third so we can score a goal. We just kind of lost the essence of what we are as a team. That's not us."

The tide began to turn around the midway point of the first half and heading into the second stanza. The Bulldogs were more aggressive, finding opportunities in the attacking third before finally seizing upon a chance with 11 minutes left to go in the half.

Woodburn junior Abisai Cordero took his shot from the right side of the goal, sending it across the goal and off the far post, where it bounced into the back of the net. The Woodburn squad hustled the ball back to midfield for the kickoff, but in the remaining 11 minutes they never came as close to scoring as they did in that moment.

Corvallis walked away with the hard-fought win, 3-1. For Sanchez, the loss was proof that when the team deviates from the hustle play and combination passing it leads away from the victories that preceded the contest against the Spartans.

"It's being disciplined enough to play your game, play your role. I think that's what it comes down to, our consistency and your role on the field," Sanchez said. "I think we just need to continue that. We've done that the last couple weeks, that's how we won our last two games. But when you stop playing your game and your style and what you're known for and get lost in it, you're going to get goals scored on you. Corvallis is helping us work."

Woodburn (5-3 MWC, 7-5 overall) bounced back against Lebanon (1-5-2 MWC, 3-6-2 overall) on the road on Thursday, Oct. 21, with a 4-1 victory. The win snaps a trend for the Bulldogs of winning two games then losing two games. The final game of the teams regular season will be on Tuesday, Oct. 26, in a home game against Dallas (0-8 MWC, 1-12 overall). After that Woodburn, the No. 10-ranked team at 5A, will look to the postseason.

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