Boys’ soccer: Portland knew about Falmouth in summer practices, and it helped in a playoff victory.

The Portland and Falmouth boys’ soccer teams might have been first-time opponents in the playoffs Wednesday night, but that didn’t mean they weren’t well-acquainted.

They practiced together two times a week this past summer. Portland Coach Rocco Frenzilli brought his team to Falmouth.

Getting to know the other team worked well for Portland’s strong offense and stingy defense.

Jonathan Bobe scored two goals to lead the third-seeded Bulldogs to a 3-0 win over sixth-ranked Falmouth in a Western Class A quarterfinal at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

The Bulldogs (11-2-2) advanced to the semifinals Saturday against second-seeded Noble (12-2-1).

“I said to (Falmouth Coach)Dave Halligan this summer, what are the chances we’ll play against each other in the playoffs,” said Frenzilli. “We figured it wouldn’t happen but it came to pass. Dave and I go way back. We started playing together years ago in Greater Portland Youth Soccer and I’ve followed his very successful coaching career.”

Falmouth is in Class A this season because of the MPA’s soccer enrollment numbers, but still plays in the Western Maine Conference, comprised of Class B and C teams.

Portland, which has allowed only six goals all season, was airtight again. Falmouth (9-5-2) had some good early chances but couldn’t break through.

In fact, the Yachtsmen carried the play at the start when Portland was just missing on passes. But the momentum changed on Bobe’s first goal, off Haron Habibzai’s header.

“I saw the ball coming to me and kicked it in,” said Bobe. “I don’t know who passed me the ball.”

Late in the first half, Falmouth nearly tied it when Schuyler Parkinson kicked high on an open net on the right side. At the start, Luke Velas sent in a hard shot on Portland goalie Bobby Brittingham. Then it was Dane Paul with a shot on goal that Brittingham handled, and then a direct kick by Velas.

“We had our chances early,” said Halligan.

“Portland is a very good team. If one of those early attempts had gone in, it might have been a tighter game.”

The Bulldogs came out strong in the second half, much like the Yachtsmen had in the first half, but with tangible results.

Bobe got credit for the second goal although it actually deflected off a Falmouth player into the net.

“Yusef (Yama) sent me a pass but it went off one of their players,” said Bobe. “We really played as a team. Hopefully we can win a few more.”

Yama added a goal with just over 24 minutes remaining. It was the prettiest of the night. He controlled the ball with his chest past midfield, dribbled past the defender and shot with the ball hitting the right post.

He retrieved it and had an open net for an easy chip-in.

“We knew coming in that it would be a good game,” said Frenzilli. “(Halligan) always has his teams well-prepared. The players created for themselves and played unselfishly. I’m so proud of them.”

Portland is hoping to repeat its run of 2010, when it made it to the state final.

The Bulldogs also hope to do one better than that season, when they lost to Bangor in the championship game.

Frenzilli calls this the deepest team he has coached so it just might happen, but first the Bulldogs have to win two more games against some strong teams to win the regional championship.

“The guys in front of me were really listening on who to mark,” said Brittingham, who made seven saves. “We really came to play.”

Falmouth goalie Will D’Agostino had five saves.

Portland took 14 shots and Falmouth had 12.

Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:[email protected]Twitter: TomChardPPH

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