Thornton Academy goalie Andrew Coleman makes a leaping save during the first half of the Trojans’ 0-0 draw with Portland at Fitzpatrick Stadium Tuesday.

Thornton Academy goalie Andrew Coleman makes a leaping save during the first half of the Trojans’ 0-0 draw with Portland at Fitzpatrick Stadium Tuesday.

PORTLAND — Thornton Academy found itself staring into the sun early in Tuesday’s SMAA boys soccer tilt against Portland, and during that early portion of the game the Trojans also nearly found themselves down a goal or two on more than a few occasions. They never let in that goal during 100 minutes of soccer, but also couldn’t put one in either, as the Trojans and Bulldogs played to a 0-0 draw at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

Thornton Academy’s Cameron Twombly, center, heads the ball between Portland’s Wade Faria (22) and Erick Molina-Garcia (12) during the Trojans’ 0-0 draw with Portland at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland Tuesday.

Thornton Academy’s Cameron Twombly, center, heads the ball between Portland’s Wade Faria (22) and Erick Molina-Garcia (12) during the Trojans’ 0-0 draw with Portland at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland Tuesday.

Thornton (3-0-2) goalie Andrew Coleman had to battle the sun in his eyes from the opening whistle, and also had to fight off some difficult Portland (2-0-2) scoring attempts. He had to make a high save on an Emmanuel Yugu header off an Alex Frank free kick four minutes in, he just barely kept out a shot from Frank 90 seconds later, and punched away a 20-yard shot by Sam Farr over the crossbar 11 minutes in.

“To his credit, he was there when he needed to be, and his defense stepped up in front of him,” Portland head coach Rocco Frenzilli said of Coleman.

The Bulldogs also had as many shots go wide that Coleman didn’t have to fend off.

“It’s tough playing into the sun the first 15, 20 minutes, then it kind of set,” said TA head coach Andy Carlson.

The setting sun, however, didn’t immediately coincide with Carlson’s team settling down. He said his team “seemed to be pretty disjointed,” and the Trojans didn’t get their first shot on goal until 32 minutes into the first half – an Edwin Kayumba strike from the left side of the box.

The Trojans had three more close calls on offense in the final minutes of the first half, but Portland goalie Bobby Brittingham kept his net clean.

“Maybe we found a little bit of rhythm,” Carlson said of his team’s late first-half surge.

That rhythm didn’t carry over into the second half, as the Trojans could only show flashes of success in spurts. Although the same can be said for the Bulldogs, who dealt with their own upand down play.

“Portland’s a good team. They’re going to come out and play hard. They like to really go at you and challenge you,” said Carlson. “I think today we fought ourselves a lot. They battled, which is great, but I don’t know if we played really smart, and we’re a much smarter team than we played today.”

Thornton had some scoring chances late in the second half – one by Kayumba, another from Noah Niles – but Brittingham was up to the task once again.

“Bobby came up big. He controlled his box back there,” said Frenzilli.

There was little action near the goals during both five-minute overtime periods, though Brittingham stormed out of his goal to stop runs by Kayumba in the first and last minutes of the first overtime. A last-gasp corner kick by Portland’s Josh Irving was easily cleared by Thornton’s Jacob Hale as both teams begrudgingly took the tie.

“The old ‘kissing your sister’ thing is what it is,” said Frenzilli.

“I think we could have played a lot better. I guess you’re satisfied with it, but you’re not really happy with that. It’s a positive result; they’re going to win some games,” said Carlson. “I thought we fought until the end, but I thought we were out of sync all game.

“We’ll be alright. We’re alright.”

The Trojans return home for a pair of games, hosting Windham Thursday and Noble next Tuesday, before returning to Portland next Thursday to face defending Class A state champion Cheverus. Carlson pointed to that game as one he hopes his team will be much improved for.

Sports Staff Writer Wil Kramlich can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 323 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @WilTalkSports.


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