McMINNVILLE, Ore. – One goal from Sam Zisette was all 24th-ranked Puget Sound needed to get past Linfield as the Loggers beat the Wildcats 1-0 in a Northwest Conference contest Sunday afternoon at the Linfield soccer field.
Both teams attempted to establish momentum in the opening minutes, with Puget Sound holding a slight advantage in terms of ball ownership.
The ‘Cats (3-4, 1-3 NWC) showed signs of panic defensively, although they were able to clear the ball out of the box and maintain short spurts of possession.
Goalkeeper Grant Loriaux (Jr., West Linn, Ore.), starting in place of an injured Scott Goodman, was pressured early and often. He did well to establish command of his box, and kept composure through constant pressure from Puget Sound throughout the game.
Domenico Del Prete (So., Tigard, Ore.) was the target of several through balls played from the Wildcats’ midfield, and had a couple good looks through the middle part of the first half.
The Loggers (7-1-1, 4-0 NWC) progressively built pressure on Linfield’s defense, and created a golden opportunity with 24 minutes to play in the first. Landon Gauthier slotted a pass through the ‘Cats back line to Zisette, who cashed in from 12 yards out.
With 18 minutes remaining in the first, K. J. Newberry took a shot from just outside the 18-yard box that appeared to be headed for the top corner of the net. But Loggers keeper Chris McDonald leapt and got his fingertips on the ball, pushing it just over the crossbar.
Linfield avoided several more attacks through the closing minutes of the first half, and went into the break down by a single goal.
The Loggers tallied seven shots in the first; Linfield kept pace posting four. While the ‘Cats won only one corner in the period, they allowed just a pair to the Loggers.
Puget Sound kept Loriaux busy as it started off the second half with several pushes into the offensive third.
With 23 minutes left, tempers began to flare as a Linfield defender was shown a yellow card after a hard tackle. Tension only grew as the game progressed, with both teams chipping away at each other and fighting to maintain possession.
In the 77th minute, a Logger player was issued a yellow card, giving the ‘Cats a direct free kick from 30 yards out. Linfield couldn’t capitalize, however, as a cross from Jake Baker (Jr., McMinnville, Ore.) was headed out of the box by Puget Sound’s defense.
Linfield stepped up its attack in the last ten minutes, attempting to build one final offensive surge. The ‘Cats nearly evened the score when Harper Taylor (Sr., Clackamas, Ore.) sent a cross in from the right side with four minutes to play. Baker got a good read on the ball and fully extended to take a diving-header shot which missed just wide.
A free kick with less than a minute left proved to be Linfield’s last chance, but the shot from Baker missed wide left.
AHEAD: The ‘Cats remain at home next weekend as they take on George Fox and Pacific. Both matches, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, are set for 2:30.