Thornton Academy’s Alex Arnold, center right, shields the ball from Cheverus’ Will Peterson (4) as Cheverus’ Brady Levesque, far left, and Thornton’s Anthony Palamountain, far right, look on during the Trojans’ 2-1 victory at Boulos Stadium in Portland Thursday.

Thornton Academy’s Alex Arnold, center right, shields the ball from Cheverus’ Will Peterson (4) as Cheverus’ Brady Levesque, far left, and Thornton’s Anthony Palamountain, far right, look on during the Trojans’ 2-1 victory at Boulos Stadium in Portland Thursday.

PORTLAND — When Thornton Academy’s Edwin Kayumba was substituted out of the game midway through the second half TA head coach Andy Carlson told Kayumba two things.

The first was to get a drink and get ready to go back in. The other was a simple phrase – “game-winner.”

Carlson proved to be prophetic with the latter statement when Kayumba did score the game-winning goal against Cheverus by blasting a turn-around shot from the left side of the box for a 2-1 victory over the Stags in an SMAA boys soccer clash at Boulos Stadium Thursday.

Like Kayumba’s goal, which came with 8:45 remaining, the game was a test of will of perseverance for the Trojans (6-0-2).

“He’s dangerous. And if you can isolate him, he’s dangerous. He just stayed right at it and went after them,” Carlson said about Kayumba continually attacking the Cheverus (4-1-2) defense from his left striker spot.

Thornton was missing two starters but got off to a good start anyway. The Trojans opened the scoring just over 10 minutes in on a play that started from the left side, as Alex Arnold crossed to Kevin Sifuentes, who couldn’t get a touch toward the goal but was able to track the ball down and pass back to Noah Goren, whose pass from the right side was headed in by Cam Twombley.

“In a game like this, if you can score early, in the first 15, 20 minutes and play from ahead, it allows you to relax and settle in. But it also allows you to maybe make a mistake and still have a chance to come back and get a positive result,” said Carlson.

That mistake came for the Trojans just over 15 minutes later, and the Stags took advantage of it.

Andrei Vile blasted a send-in pass from the defensive side of the center line and it landed at the feet of Mackenzie Hoglund, who split two defenders before beating a helpless TA goalie Andrew Coleman to knot the game 1-1.

“Quality goal on their part,” said Carlson. “They put our central backs under pressure. Probably the one mistake we made all game. Their better player gets the ball, second touch back of the net.”

The Stags earned a corner kick 2:30 into the second half but weren’t able to convert on the set piece. They didn’t have many chances after that, a key to the game, according to Carlson.

“In a game like this, sometimes it’s not about the opportunities you create for yourself, sometimes it’s about the opportunities you prevent the other team from having,” said Carlson.

The Trojans created a golden opportunity with 17:25 left, as Arnold was taken down in the box and TA was awarded a penalty kick. But Twombley missed wide right, keeping the door open for the Stags.

Coleman and the Thornton defense didn’t allow anything through that open door, with Coleman making his biggest stop of the second half by snuffing out a Brady Levesque run with 13 minutes left.

“Coleman played great today. Back four played brilliantly,” said Carlson. “Had to make some changes back there.”

Kayumba, who had gotten the ball numerous times down the left side but wasn’t able to shake off enough defenders, found open space in the box on the game-winning play and put it where Cheverus goalie Jake Tomkinson couldn’t get it.

The Stags’ desperation play during the final minutes produced nothing, and they were knocked out of the ranks of the unbeaten in the SMAA.

Thornton has yet to lose, but Carlson said his team faces stiff competition over the next few games. More games like Thursday’s contest could keep the Trojans unblemished.

“In a game like this you need to play your best. We played our best and we got a result,” said Carlson.

— 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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