Photo by Ben Mitchell
HRV BOYS SOCCER had its home opener against Hillsboro on Tuesday, which ended in a 1-1 draw. Senior forward Andres Baeza (in white) contests for a header with a Hillsboro player.
The HRV boys soccer team didn’t exactly get the result it was looking for in Tuesday’s home opener against Hillsboro, where the Eagles remained on even footing with the Spartans throughout the majority of the game, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
The situation was an unfamiliar one for the Eagles, who head coach Jaime Rivera said hadn’t experienced a tie since the 2013 season. The lone goal against HRV was also anomalous for a team that hadn’t been scored on since last year’s quarterfinal game against Mountain View (which HRV won 7-1), and opened up this year’s non-league action with a 4-0 blowout against Franklin High School.
Rivera said that with numerous fresh faces on the varsity roster this year, it will take some games to adjust.
“We have 14 new players on this team that are learning to play together, so it’s going to take us some time to be hitting on all cylinders,” he explained.
HRV looked dangerous in the opening minutes of the first half, tearing up the pitch with a pair of quick strikes that seemed to catch the Spartans off-guard. Neither found the back of the net, though they came tantalizingly close.
The Eagles hit the road for the next week or so, starting today with a game at McLoughlin High School in Milton-Freewater. They then travel to Portland for a match with Central Catholic on Tuesday, then head down to bend to play Summit on Friday. HRV will be back in town Sept. 22 to play Woodburn at 6:30 p.m.
After both teams bottled up the ball in the midfield for several minutes, the game broke HRV’s way in the 19th minute when one of the aforementioned fresh faces, junior forward Domingo Barragan, who moved here from Mexico at the end of last school year, took a pass from Alvaro Ramirez and booted it with his non-dominant left foot into the far side of the net despite being tailed by two Hillsboro defenders. Rivera said Barragan had just been declared eligible by the OSAA and it was the first time Barragan took the pitch for HRV.
“That is the mark of a striker, who can take a pass and hit a shot with one touch,” he noted.
Hillsboro also had its fair share of scoring chances as well and finally connected with the net with little more than three minutes remaining in the first half. A Spartan player drew two HRV defenders, then passed to an open teammate who fired a point-blank volley into the torso of sophomore HRV keeper Travis Running. Running, who had 11 saves Tuesday evening, stopped the initial shot, but wasn’t able to get back into position for the rebound that ended up finding the back of the net and knotting the game up at 1-all.
Rivera said the Eagles had “lost our defensive shape a little bit,” and that the HRV midfield had given up too space to Hillsboro.
“The breakdown happened in the middle of the field. The ball was moved up through the center of the field,” he explained. “That’s where we’re really trying to improve is how we defend the midfield area.”
In the second half, Rivera said both teams had plenty of scoring chances, but neither squad was able to break through and take control of the game and the score in the first half remained the same in the second.
“They were strong. I wasn’t disappointed, but I knew we had more in us and we should have won that game,” Rivera said. “That’s what I told the guys in the huddle: ‘That was a damn good team.’”
HRV bounced back Thursday in a game against Rex Putnam in Hood River, where the Eagles got their second shutout of the season with a 3-0 win over the Kingsmen.
Rivera praised his team for displaying great energy during the game, particularly in the first half.
“It was just a matter of time,” Rivera said of when HRV would grab its first goal. “We were pressing them pretty hard in the first half.”