FOREST GROVE, Ore. – After fighting for two weeks to get their first Northwest Conference men's soccer victory, the Linfield Wildcats have now strung together two straight wins after topping Pacific 3-1 Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Park Stadium.
Jake Baker gave the ‘Cats a 1-0 halftime lead with a successful penalty kick conversion, and Ivan Colin and Brian DeGrandmont (Sr., Portland, Ore.) added the game-winner and insurance goals, respectively, midway through the second period.
Jorge Rodriguez made three saves to get the win, allowing the only Pacific goal: a penalty kick from Ian Farley. The Boxers (5-6-1, 0-5-1 NWC) had plenty of scoring opportunities, holding a 19-14 advantage in shot attempts, including 11 looks on frame, but could only muster the one score on a set piece as their winless streak reached seven matches.
Linfield (5-4-1, 2-3-1 NWC) had put up just three shots before earning a penalty kick in the 26th minute. Baker stepped up to the ball and booted it past Pacific keeper Zach Cohen to give the Wildcats the early lead.
Both teams had opportunities to put more points on the scoreboard – Pacific attempted five more shots while Linfield earned three corner kicks – but the clubs went into the halftime break with little separation with regard to the score.
With Rodriguez making a couple of early second-half stops to deny the Boxers the tying goal, Eric Conte set up Colin for a second Wildcat score that put some distance between the clubs.
Thirteen minutes later, Domenico Del Prete sent a cross to DeGrandmont, who finished inside the box for his team-leading fourth goal of the season and a 3-0 Linfield lead.
Farley helped the Boxers avoid the shutout with an 80th-minute penalty kick. The junior forward and teammate Quitin Love did their best to make things interesting down the stretch, but both were thwarted by reserve keeper Grant Loriaux.
Nick Rudella and Farley paced Pacific with five and four shots, respectively, while defensively, Cohen absorbed the loss.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Linfield won back-to-back games for the first time since it opened the season with three consecutive nonconference victories…Colin's goal was a career first…Baker, DeGrandmont, Del Prete and Nicholas Autencio have scored at least three goals this season.
AHEAD: The Wildcats conclude their five-match road stretch with a Saturday contest at Willamette, beginning at 2:30 p.m.