FREEPORT—The Capers sailed past Freeport on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 3, zooming ahead to the 3-0 final on a quick pair of goals by Matt Concannon and John O’Connor early in the second half. That score is a bit deceptive, though, as both teams played hard, frequently thwarted one another and in general appeared quite evenly matched.
“We played pretty well,” said Cape head coach Ben Raymond. “Freeport’s a very good team. They do a good a job, and they make things difficult. They’re well organized, they have a good sense of what they’re trying to accomplish. They play hard the entire game; there’s no quit in them at all.”
“Our kids did a good job rising to that level,” Raymond said.
“I’m pleased with how we played; if we keep playing like that, a lot of good things will happen,” said Freeport head coach Joe Heathco. “I’m psyched in terms of how we played; I’m not psyched about the result, obviously.”
The action seesawed up and down the field throughout the uphill half, with both teams generating chances. Cape capitalized first – Archie McEvoy beat Freeport keeper Atticus Patrick on a Ben Carroll feed from beyond the top of the penalty area – but not until late.
The Falcons turned in a trio of solid opportunities before the buzzer, but couldn’t covert. Still, the game was hardly out of Freeport’s reach; 1-0 between well-matched opponents is almost as tight as it gets.
“In the very beginning, we were really amped up, going forward a hundred miles an hour,” Raymond said. “We didn’t possess an awful lot. Then we did possess, kind of lost the ball a little bit in the midfield, created some opportunities for [Freeport]. They’re dangerous players up top.”
“I thought we were dominant in the first half,” Heathco said. “Things maybe evened out a little bit in the second, but the score is just really kind of bizarre. They way we played. But it’s soccer – scoring is what it’s about; it’s not about possession and opportunities. Because we must’ve outshot them four- or five-to-one. So I just told the boys, I’m really pleased with we played; The energy we brought, what we were doing, the execution. You know, besides not scoring.”
Early in the latter half, the Falcons dropped their guard just a hair – a mistake Cape took advantage of not once, but twice. Matt Concannon and John O’Connor tallied points in close succession to ratchet the scoreboard forward all the way to 3-0.
3-0 between well-matched opponents is a much different story than 1-0, of course, and the Capers did just what they needed to do – i.e., they never relaxed – to secure the victory.
“I think maybe a little bit of a let-down,” Heathco said, referring to his boys’ intensity level. “Some things went against us there in the second half. We came out, first 10 minutes, we were playing really well; a little let-down. It was very strange. We had numbers back, too, so it’s not question of us being caught out of position or anything. Maybe we can work on pressure cover a little bit, having that cover guy step.”
“We changed formation a little bit,” Raymond said, asked what adjustments the Capers made at halftime. “We moved a couple more guys into the midfield – we weren’t having a lot of success in the midfield in the first half. We possessed a little bit better in the second half, created some more opportunities there.”
“I think everybody played well,” Raymond said. “Alec Riggle in the midfield; Nick Aceto in the midfield as well, did a nice job; David Hare did an outstanding job in the back; and then Ben Carroll, Sam Dresser and Charlie Dall in the back as well – they all did a great job.”
Heathco similarly praised his team as a whole. “If you look all around – I think our backs did a nice job keeping their shape; that’s something we haven’t always been able to do. We’ve done it for stretches, but I thought we did it for the whole game today. Our center-mids did a nice job; we had a nice gameplan today, and I thought it was really effective. It really centered around our three center-mids holding, and two attacking – playing position strong. So I’m really pleased; we rotated four guys through there. All four of them did really well.”
Freeport slipped to 5-5 with the loss. The Falcons, currently ranked sixth in B South, travel to No. 10 Wells (4-4-1) on Thursday, Oct. 5. They host a trio of home games after that: No. 8 Greely (4-4-1) on the 12th, No. 16 Poland (0-10) on the 14th and No. 13 Fryeburg (3-7) on the 16th. Greely, of course, will be worth the most Heal Points; Freeport will be eager to win that bout, as doing so will help the Falcons retain their place in the standings as the postseason approaches. After all, No. 7 Leavitt (5-3-3) is nipping, numerically, at Freeport’s heels, and the Hornets have at least one big-points bout left on their own schedule, a matchup with No. 4 Lincoln Academy (7-2-2).
Cape Elizabeth, meanwhile, improved to 5-3-1. The fifth-place Capers have five games remaining, including a road contest at Greely on Thursday the 5th and one at Waynflete (sixth in C South at 7-1-1) on Tuesday the 10th, as well as a home tussle vs. Yarmouth (No. 1 at 10-0) the following Saturday. Whether the team can pick up enough extra Heal Points to overtake Lincoln in the standings remains to be seen.
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME
Cape keeper Sean Agrodnia takes to the air in pursuit of a ball.
Falcons Evan McKittrick (20) and Jesse Bennell (10) sandwich Caper Matt Concannon.
Falcon Caleb Arsenault cuts toward a loose ball.
Freeport Joe Ashby settles a ball.
Cape defender Calvin Stoughton clashes with Freeport attacker Eriksen Shea.
Cape defender Sam Dresser tracks an incoming Falcon.