SOUTH PORTLAND — When the Gorham High boys’ soccer team started its season with three straight losses, Coach Nick Viola told his players they needed to learn how to fight.

“We had to find the fight within ourselves to win games like this, regardless of who we’re playing,” Viola said.

Whatever mojo the Rams were missing in September, they’ve found as October comes to a close.

Peter Wu’s goal with 17:04 left was the difference Friday evening as No. 7 Gorham took a 1-0 win over No. 3 South Portland to advance to the Class A South championship game on Wednesday at Thornton Academy in Saco.

It was the second straight win over a higher-seeded team for the Rams (10-5-1), who knocked off No. 2 Scarborough in the quarterfinals. Gorham’s next opponent will be the winner of Saturday’s game between No. 4 Marshwood and No. 1 Windham.

South Portland ends the season at 11-3-3.

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“I honestly think they might have the most talented team even though they’re the seven seed,” South Portland Coach Bryan Hoy said of Gorham.

Wu’s goal was off the rebound of an Alden Dimick shot. Wu tapped it past South Portland keeper Thomas Caouette.

“It fell right in front of me. I put it in between the kid’s legs, and we know what happened from there,” said Wu, a junior.

“We wanted to possess. We know they sit back. We wouldn’t have many chances, so we had to take those half chances, and we found one.”

The Rams executed their game plan almost perfectly, controlling the ball in the middle of the field. South Portland was content to sit back and try to use the speed of Divin Mpinga and Joey Perron to attack when given a chance. Those chances rarely came.

“(Mpinga) is one of the most active players I’ve played. He’s an amazing player. Playing against him is testing for sure,” said Gorham senior Curan Bassingthwaite, who marked Mpinga most of the game. “I love playing against those big players. It makes me a better player at the end of the day.”

The Red Riots had opportunities in the Gorham end, with three corner kicks over the final 15 minutes, but they were unable to create a strong scoring chance.

“It’s the great part of this sport and the terrible part of this sport. It takes one play, and that’s ball game,” Hoy said. “I thought they played great, and I thought we played great. I don’t think my guys realize it now, but that was one of the better soccer games that’s been played in southern Maine this year.”


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