FALMOUTH — Portland left the field Tuesday night knowing it had gained valuable spots in the standings and big-game experience with a 1-0 win over Falmouth on the final night of the Class A South boys’ soccer regular season.

“Are we playing our best soccer at the end of the season? Well, obviously if we can beat a very, very good Falmouth team, I’m feeling like we’re playing OK,” said Portland Coach Rocco Frenzilli.

Frenzilli and the Bulldogs must have felt even better when they checked the Heal point standings and found out Bonny Eagle, which will not make the playoffs, upset South Portland, 2-1. That result, combined with beating Falmouth, pushed Portland (10-3-1) up three spots to No. 4 for an unexpected bye out of the preliminary round, barring any unforeseen changes to the standings once they’re deemed official.

South Portland slips to No. 5 and will host No. 12 Sanford on Saturday. Sanford sneaked into the playoff picture for the first time all season with its 1-1 tie against Deering.

Falmouth (11-2-1) entered the night in second place and stayed put despite suffering a second loss in its final three games.

“The best games at the end of the season against the best opponents, I guess that will get us ready,” said Falmouth Coach Dave Halligan. “It was a hard-fought physical game and that’s the way tournament games are going to be. You’ve got a taste of it now.”


Alex Millones drilled a free kick from about 23 yards into the top left corner with 6:40 to play in the first half for Portland’s goal. The kick was awarded when hard-charging Gabriel Panzo drew a foul in transition.

“Top corner. I scored. So I’m really happy about that,” Millones said. “We played amazing. We gave it everything we had today and we came out with the result.”

Portland goalie Henry Flynn helped keep the lead intact with eight saves and several aggressive and well-timed covers on loose ball opportunities. Falmouth had an overall 15-8 edge in shots. Junior striker Gus Ford (13 goals on the season) created several chances for Falmouth with his combination of speed and ability to win the ball in traffic. Sam Gearen also had good scoring chances, including a one-touch deflection in the first half that just went wide, and a final-minute bid set up by Ford that Flynn was able to cover.

Portland also had chances to increase its lead, the best a blistered shot from top scorer Anselmo Tela, a junior striker, that went wide midway through the second half.

After consecutive late-September losses to Scarborough and South Portland, the Bulldogs closed the season 5-0-1.

“We can compete. Of course. We’re Portland. And I think we have the best team in the state right now,” Tela said.

“As the season progresses you want to see that improvement. And then end of the season and the playoffs you’re playing your best and that’s what we’re seeing,” Millones said.

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