With 13 minutes left in Thursday’s boys’ soccer game against Deering, Portland Coach Rocco Frenzilli thought his team was about to score a tiebreaking goal.

Portland midfielder Dana Hinchliffe arched a shot over Deering keeper Max Morrione, who had charged the ball and left the net open.

“We all thought it was going in,” Frenzilli said. “A primary rule in soccer is: If you’re a defender, always rotate behind your teammates to help them out. In that case, if (the defender) wasn’t there, that’s in the back of the net.”

Deering’s Abdirizak Ibrahim swooped in front of the net to stop Hinchcliffe’s shot and keep the game tied. After two overtimes, Portland (9-1-1) and Deering (6-3-1) settled for a 1-1 draw at Memorial Stadium.

“In my mind, I thought, ‘What if the ball drops,’ and it did,” Ibrahim said. “You can’t take those types of risks – you have to be there 100 percent of the time.”

Zekariya Shaib put Portland on the board with 27:44 left in the first half, heading in a Pedro Fonseca throw-in.

“Pedro is a basketball player who can throw a distance,” Shaib said.

“This game was classic.”

Portland kept the Rams on their heels for most of the first half. Though the Bulldogs only put two shots on goal, they held the ball in Deering’s half of the field for most of the first 40 minutes. Jonathan Mukwa and Gracien Mukwa both nearly scored before intermission, with Jonathan Mukwa’s shot barely sailing over the crossbar and Gracien Mukwa’s shot slamming into the post before bouncing out of bounds.

“We had our chances and they had theirs,” Frenzilli said. “They came out in the second half and played the way we did in the first half, and the result was the equalizer.”

With 32:29 left in regulation, Chris Kombo tied the score 1-1 by using his body to redirect a Keto Tchiputo corner kick.

“After halftime, we wanted to come out hard, play our game and stay composed,” Kombo said. “Shout out to (Ibrahim); without him, we couldn’t have done it. He really stood out to the team and gave us that energy to come back in the second half.”

Ibrahim made multiple key defensive plays in the second half, helping thwart eight corner kicks.

Deering Coach Joel Costigan said all but one of the goals scored against the Rams this season have been on set plays.

“When somebody has a good throw-in like that, it’s just like a corner,” Costigan said. “So tonight was a big relief to be able to have such a high-powered team like Portland not be able to break through except for that early goal.”

In overtime, Portland nearly scored when an Alex Millones free kick from midfield reached Morrione, who made the save. Under pressure from Tahn Tiparos, Morrione dropped the ball but quickly recovered it.

Morrione finished with seven saves, and Portland’s Rowan Daligan had two saves.

“We had the discussion at halftime and reminded them of last year’s result,” Costigan said, referring to Portland’s 1-0 victory over Deering in last year’s Class A South quarterfinals. “We made a few adjustments tactically and lineup-wise, and (we) were able to put it together in the second half. … I think the guys are learning, and it’s the right time to learn before we go into the playoffs.”

Taylor Vortherms can be contacted at 791-6417 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: TaylorVortherms

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: