PORTLAND – One of the best offensive players on the Deering boys’ soccer team also happens to be one of its best defenders.
Christian Castaneda, a sophomore who starts at a wing in back line, moved up front long enough to score the first goal of his varsity career Friday night, leading Deering to a 1-0 win against Cheverus at Memorial Field.
Castaneda took on three defenders to the left side of the Cheverus goal before spinning and firing a low shot inside the far post.
“I didn’t know where the goalie was,” Castaneda said. “I just looked up, and I knew the goal was open.”
“Their goal was a good, solid soccer goal,” Cheverus Coach Bill LeBlanc said. “We couldn’t defend it any better. It’s going to happen to you.”
The goal came about 10 minutes after Castaneda moved to the top of the Deering formation.
“For the first 15 or 20 minutes he played back, then we wanted to shift gears so we moved him (to the) front,” Deering Coach Joel Costigan said. “I don’t know how much we’re going to do that, but it’s always an option.”
By the end of the game, Castaneda was playing midfield.
“Cheverus does a good job of packing it in in the middle, and we needed someone who could win the ball,” Costigan said. “Christian is very tenacious and very disciplined.”
Neither team was able to apply much pressure.
“They’re a real good team, and we need to develop a little more offensive chemistry and be a little bit more dynamic, offensively, and we’ll be fine,” LeBlanc said. “We’re solid defensively and in goal.”
The Stags were missing midfielders Jamie Biegel and Mackenzie Hoglund, two of their top offensive players.
“They’re more of our dynamic playmakers, which will help us get a little more offensive going,” LeBlanc said.
Cheverus had its moments, but Deering’s Anthony Russo kept the ball out of the net.
With 16 minutes left in the first half and the game still scoreless, the junior keeper dived to stop a blast from 14 yards by Isaac Yeboah, who put the ball on net after picking off a clearing pass.
Russo then made a leaping save late in the half, and later came way his off his line to punch the ball away when Felix Delvecchio stole the ball and tried to score on a breakaway.
Early in the second half, Castaneda came off the field for 10 minutes after he was shaken up during a collision.
“I’m all right,” he said. “It just knocked my (wind) out, and that was about it.”
With 22 minutes left, Ben Peterson replaced Cheverus keeper Charlie Mull, who re-entered the game a short time later as a forward.
“He’s very dynamic on the field offensively, and he got a couple good shots off,” LeBlanc said.
Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: