Top-ranked South Portland lived up to its reputation as a defensive unit nearly impossible to crack. The Red Riots held eighth-seeded Thornton Academy scoreless for 110 minutes Wednesday night.

It wasn’t enough.

Junior keeper Travis Snyder saved two South Portland penalty kicks, and the Golden Trojans converted all four of their attempts following two 15-minute overtimes to give Thornton a 1-0 win in a Class A South boys’ soccer quarterfinal at rain-soaked Fitzpatrick Stadium.

The Trojans (10-5-1) will return to Fitzpatrick on Saturday for a regional semifinal against No. 4 Portland.

South Portland, which allowed only four goals all season, finishes 13-1-1.

“Soccer is one of the most bizarre sports on the planet, and that’s why we love it,” said South Portland Coach Bryan Hoy. “You can get totally outplayed and win 1-0, or vice versa.

“It was unfortunate that we couldn’t get a goal, but Thornton played really well. Their defense stepped up and took away what we were trying to do. It’s unfortunate, but they outplayed us.”

South Portland had half a dozen decent scoring chances in the second half, none better than with nine minutes remaining when Anthony Perron intercepted a pass and fed striker Kyle Patterson, who set up Charlie Cronin for an open shot from 15 yards. It hooked wide of the left post.

In overtime, both teams had opportunities, but Thornton’s back line of Owen Hey, Samuel Edborg, Petra Zumar and Zachary Ahmida was equal to the task, along with Snyder, who made seven saves in regulation and four in overtime.

“We’re just a bunch of hard-working guys,” Thornton Coach Andrew Carlson said. “We don’t have any big names. We didn’t win the league. We don’t have the best offensive player in the league. We don’t have the best defensive player in the league. We just go out and play as a unit.”

Originally scheduled for South Portland’s natural grass field, the game was moved to the artificial turf in Portland because of persistent rain.

Riley Hasson made four saves in regulation for South Portland and four in overtime before the game came down to penalty kicks.

Chase Pierce, Hey, Jose Manuel Toraya and Eric McCallum each converted a penalty kick for Thornton Academy. Only Cronin, who led off for South Portland, scored on Snyder, who subsequently made a diving save to his left and another not far to his right.

“My coach is always telling me to react, not to anticipate” Snyder said.

“You don’t want to get caught going the wrong way. I’m explosive enough to just go for it instead of guessing.”

McCallum’s conversion gave Thornton an unbeatable 4-1 advantage in the five-round tiebreaker, setting off a wild celebration for the Trojans.

“We really didn’t want it to get to penalty kicks because we thought we had the advantage on the field,” said Hoy. “So when it went to penalty kicks, we were a little nervous, but we also felt pretty confident with Riley back there. He’s one of the better goalies. He didn’t quite get his hands on one because Thornton struck some really nice PKs.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

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