Rain or shine, Portland goalkeeper Rowan Daligan was ready to play Wednesday night in a Class A South boys’ soccer quarterfinal against Scarborough.

“The first thing he said to me coming into my office today was, ‘Coach, it’s game day today,'” Portland Coach Rocco Frenzilli said of Daligan. “And he had that smile on his face – he always does.”

Daligan was justifiably all smiles after helping the fourth-seeded Bulldogs advance with a 1-0 win. He made six saves in the pouring rain as Portland shut out the fifth-seeded Red Storm.

Portland (11-3-1) will face No. 8 Thornton Academy in the semifinals on Saturday.

Zekariya Shaib scored the winner with 17:13 left, capitalizing on one of Portland’s six second-half corner kicks.

Alex Millones sent the ball into the box and a scrum ensued. Shaib fired a low shot through traffic that found the back of the net.

“He put his foot on the end of that one and knocked it to the corner through a maze,” Frenzilli said.

“Both teams exerted tremendous pressure on each other. We were fortunate to get that one.”

Each team put four shots on goal in the first half, but Scarborough’s shots were a bit more dangerous. The Red Storm (11-5) produced several scoring opportunities off free kicks from about midfield.

“With the weather and the way it was going, we knew set pieces – free kicks and corners – would be very important,” Scarborough Coach Mark Diaz said. “And they were for us, particularly in the first half.”

With two minutes left before halftime, Scarborough’s Liam Bridgham launched a free kick from about 40 yards that bounced into the box. Daligan lost sight of the ball in the cluster of players but recovered just in time to bat it over the crossbar before it could reach the back of the net.

“I saw it at the last second,” Daligan said. “It’s stressful. Really quickly, you have to make a decision whether to come out or not.”

Scarborough keeper Morgan Pratt also had six saves.

“We played really well tonight – we knew it would be close,” Diaz said. “We had some chances, but that’s the sport. You have to capitalize on those, and we didn’t tonight.”

Four minutes into the game, Scarborough’s Marco Manfra drove down the right side and took a shot that bounced off the left post.

Scarborough also nearly took the lead eight minutes into the second half when Brandon Wasser and Bridgham broke free with just Daligan between them and the goal.

While charging down the left side, Wasser fed a pass to Bridgham near the right post. Bridgham got a foot on the ball, but he was a step too late to control it, and his shot sailed out of bounds.

Portland also had a couple chances off set plays.

Less than a minute into the second half, Shaib nearly headed in a Millones corner kick, but the ball went over the crossbar.

The Bulldogs avenged a 1-0 loss at Scarborough on Oct. 12.

“I think the intensity was higher,” Daligan said. “Playing at home, having your friends watching you, it’s whole different feeling than being away.”

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: