South Portland midfielder Charlie Cronin said Portland probably outplayed his team in Tuesday night’s Class A South boys’ soccer game at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

But Cronin managed to make the most of one of South Portland’s few opportunities in the second half, scoring the winner on an Anthony Perron assist with 4:57 left for the 1-0 victory. The Red Riots (11-0-1) remain undefeated, Portland fell to 9-2-1.

“We had a tough time matching their intensity throughout the whole game,” Cronin said of Portland. “But we found it at the beginning and at the end. It was definitely a battle.”

The Red Riots got off to a strong start with Aleks Kaurin firing off a shot on goal four minutes into the game. But Portland controlled possession for most of the second half, with its offense constantly putting pressure on South Portland goalkeeper Riley Hasson and his defense.

“They were one of the top teams we’ve seen so far – especially in our league, their speed and athleticism is pretty much unmatched,” Hasson said of Portland. “I don’t know if we were ready for that coming in, but I thought our defense adjusted well and really saved us.”

The Bulldogs had about a dozen of their shots sail over or wide of South Portland’s goal throughout the game. One of Portland’s top scoring threats – forward Pedro Fonseca – had a handful of opportunities, one of which Hasson thwarted midway through the second period with a sliding save, where he collected the ball before Fonseca could take his shot.

“Pedro is an excellent player – he got a couple chances, but our guys were up to the task,” South Portland Coach Bryan Hoy said of Fonseca, crediting South Portland defender Sean Scott with helping contain him. “Our defense was really up to the task today. They (Portland) have such a strong offense and they got a couple looks, but they didn’t get a bunch, and that’s really what we wanted to limit.”

South Portland scored late in the second period off a counterattack. From the right corner of Portland’s side of the field, Perron fed the ball to Cronin, who got open by driving through a gap before burying his shot into the net.

“Both teams had chances, and they took advantage of theirs,” Portland Coach Rocco Frenzilli said. “If you don’t finish your chances, it’s not going to be a successful night for you.”

Portland’s last chance came in the final minute following a corner kick, when Emmanuel Yugu’s header sailed just left of South Portland’s goal.

Portland goalkeeper Rowan Daligan recorded three saves, and South Portland’s Hasson had four.

One of Portland’s most dangerous weapons – Fonseca’s long throw-ins – proved mostly ineffective against South Portland. When Fonseca launched the ball from the sideline into the center of South Portland’s box, Hasson was usually there to snag the ball from the air. Hasson also kept the Bulldogs from capitalizing off their six corner kicks.

“We’re not too concerned with the long throw-ins because, with Riley in goal, he’s so long, he can get up off the ground so well, and he can come out and cover those,” Hoy said. “But it’s certainly something we’re going to need to work on because I can’t imagine we don’t see these guys again at some point.”

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