By Bob San
Osseo lost to Maple Grove 3-1 in a conference boys’ soccer contest last week, but the Orioles are looking forward to a rematch later in the season.
The Orioles are a young, inexperienced squad, while the Crimson, which lost some key players, return a more veteran group.
“Looking at the beginning of the game we started very timid,” first-year Osseo coach Patrick Hager said. “We have a very young team. The defeat of last year I believe was still in the back of our minds.”
The timidity cost Osseo. The Crimson earned a corner kick 1 minute into the game and scored when Alex Downing was left unmarked in the box and headed in the kick from Antonio Magadan.
The Orioles played MG evenly the rest of the half and trailed only 1-0.
“After they scored the first goal we looked more comfortable and wanted to play,” Hager said. “We started possessing the ball and actually looked really good as we began to create chances.”
The game featured two very different teams with different styles. The Crimson played as a disciplined unit with organized passing while the Orioles relied more on individual skills and speed. Oriole forwards Dariys Kwitee, Abraham Kamara and Prince Massaquoi created some anxious moments for Maple Grove with their dazzling dribbles and runs but the Crimson defense anchored by Dakota Weingel and Jack Dorholt was solid.
“You look at Maple Grove, who probably have a bunch of guys playing club soccer year round whereas Osseo has four, five kids playing club soccer and the rest just playing locally on the weekend where ever they can get a game in,” Hager said. “It makes a difference. Fair play to MG as they had a game plan and it worked for them.”
The Crimson dominated the start of the second half, forcing three corner kicks and two free kicks in the first 10 minutes. They finally broke through when Magadan curled a right footed shot from just outside the box into the far corner for a 2-0 lead at 28:00. The Crimson made it 3-0 10 minutes later when Matt Mueller found himself open in the box and fired in a low left-footed shot in from 12 yards out.
The Orioles fought hard the rest of the way and was rewarded. Massaquoi drew a foul and Osseo’s Ben Morales scored on a scramble in front of the MG goal with about 4 minutes left.
Hager is pleased with his team’s play against a quality opponent in the season opener.
“MG is a very athletic team whereas Osseo has a lot of talent but stilling showing glimpses of us trying to put the pieces together,” he said. “That is expected for a turn-around program. After we scored our goal I think the boys started to believe as we created more chances to almost tie the game. I believe if we had the opportunity to play them in the middle/ near end of the season it could be a different story. I am definitely looking forward to the rest of season with Osseo as we continue to get better.”
The Orioles lost to Centennial 2-1 in overtime Aug. 31. They next visit Park Center Thursday, Sept. 7, and host Elk River Saturday, Sept. 9.
The Crimson beat Champlin Park 1-0 on a goal by Jeff Clune and shutout by Matt Hennessey Aug. 31. They next visit Irondale Thursday, Sept. 7, and host Spring Lake Park Saturday, Sept. 9.
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