Defense dominated as South Portland and Portland played to a scoreless tie Tuesday night in an SMAA boys’ soccer match at Fitzpatrick Stadium

It was the eighth shutout for the host Bulldogs, who have played three scoreless ties.

“It’s a hackneyed cliche, but there is parity in this league,” said Portland Coach Rocco Frenzilli, whose team is 5-0-3. “The defenses are real strong. The offenses are good, but obviously the defenses are going to really make you earn (those goals).”

It was the second tie this season for the Riots.

“This was the start of our big stretch and I thought it went pretty well,” South Portland Coach Brian Hoy said. “It’s not the result we wanted, but we’ll take it.”

Starting Tuesday night, the Riots (4-2-2) will play seven games in 15 days against some of the top Class A South teams.

“It’s a tough league in general,” Hoy said. “Every game is against a tough team.”

For the game, Portland held a 35-11 edge in shots, but less than a handful of them from inside the penalty area.

“Box to box I think both teams played excellent,” Frenzilli said. “It was one of those things when you get inside then the defense steps up and does their job.”

Neither team was awarded a corner kick during the first half.

The Riots’ best chances came early.

Ten minutes in, Sam Farr, a senior forward, broke in alone on the left side, but his rising shot from 10 yards was gloved by Portland goalie Bobby Brittingham.

Less than four minutes later, Brittingham had to dive to get his hands on the ball after Khalid Suja’s hard shot from 30 yards deflected off a defender.

Portland’s Josue Madrid Brenis and Wade Faria both put long balls off the crossbar during the first 40 minutes.

The Bulldogs’ best scoring opportunity in the first half came during the closing seconds when Brady Cyr tried to slip a through ball from the right side inside the far post, but South Portland goalie Riley Hasson was there to stuff his shot.

The second half was played in a steady rain, but the wet weather didn’t seem to affect either team. Both continued to play at a high level.

Portland was awarded the game’s first corner kick seven minutes into the second half. South Portland earned its first corner 14 minutes into the second half.

With 17 minutes left, Portland’s Josh Irving lined a direct kick from just beyond the left side of the penalty box to the front of the net, but Hasson was there to keep Pavel Bobe’s header from just outside the goalie box out of the goal.

“Our keeper made some tremendous saves to keep us in the game,” Hoy said.

Hasson made 15 saves to post his third shutout of the season. Four of those saves came during 10 minutes of overtime.

Brittingham, who made six saves to post his eighth shutout, made a sensational save with less than seven minutes left in regulation play. He made a diving rolling save on Kervens Antoine’s quick blast through a two-man defensive screen.

“Everybody likes to win,” Frenzilli said, “but playing a good team like South Portland and coming away with a tie is good.”