Falmouth downs Greely 4-2 in early-season boys' soccer battle

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CUMBERLAND—The Falmouth boys’ soccer team took control early in the second half to defeat Greely 4-2 Tuesday night.

Junior Michael Bloom’s low, hard shot just inside the far post 46 seconds into the second half put Falmouth up, 2-0. Minutes later, he made it 3-0, outrunning two Greely defenders from beyond midfield to chase down and put in a long ball from junior Sam White.

“Their touch is wonderful and (Gabe) Hoffman-Johnson and Bloom can fly,” said Greely coach Mike Andreasen.

Falmouth took the lead midway through the first half when Hoffman-Johnson, a senior, used a well-timed run on a long through ball served by senior Alec Dunn, sending it past Greely goalie Patrick Blum, who hesitated coming off the goal line.

“We have some pretty talented players who can make those balls when probably in past years we weren’t able to,” said Falmouth coach Dave Haligan. “This is a veteran team and we can take what the other team gives us. If we need to possess the ball we can possess it and if they want to jam it up top and give us some space in behind, we’ll take that too.”

Falmouth returned almost it’s entire starting lineup from a one-loss team last season while Greely has only one returning starter and is still learning a new formation, the flat-back four, on defense.

“Dave can attack that,” Andreasen said. “He is an experienced coach. The tough thing with the flat-back four is it can be open to through balls and speed. They have both of those.”

Greely weathered the Yachtsmen first half goal well, nearly putting in the tying goal multiple times following the Falmouth’s opening score.

John Downey shot hard and high off the left post with 20 minutes remaining in the half.

Later, the Rangers just missed, twice, off set pieces. Matti Ingraham shot just wide with a diving header off a free kick with 7:30 remaining in the half. And with 5:30 remaining, Teddy Russell blasted a free kick through Falmouth’s wall of defenders, only to have Ben Goffin make a diving save to his left. Junior Sean Ross gathered the rebound, but shot just wide of the far post.

“That’s where we kind of let the game slip away,” Andreasen said. “But I thought we played a really good first half. Even when we came away down a goal, even then we felt really good. We felt the way the game transpired was good for us.”

The second half did not transpire as well. Following Bloom’s two quick goals, Hoffman-Johnson made it 4-0, scoring his second with a hard low shot at the far post with 27:32 remaining in the game.

Greely got on the board three minutes later when Ross cleaned up a rebound and sent it past Goffin. With five minutes remaining, Jonathan Coyne pulled the Rangers within two, beating backup goalie Ryan Rogers, but it was too little too late.

“For a lot of these kids it was the first big game they played,” Andreasen said of his Rangers. “Falmouth has stars everywhere. A team like that, you can’t give them chances to beat you, because they will have chances anyway.”

Both teams won their season openers Friday. Greely defeated Freeport, 3-0, while Falmouth bettered Fryeburg Academy by the same score. Hoffman-Johnson had two goals in that game as well.

“It’s is early in the season,” said Halligan. “We are a veteran team, but a new team. A lot of these guys are playing different positions. With the limited time we had in preseason, its going to take us awhile to jell. Out best play is still ahead of us.”

Falmouth hosts Poland on Thursday before rival Cape Elizabeth comes to town on Monday.

Greely, on the other hand, gets a little break, playing its Class B schedule before a brutal three-game stretch against Yarmouth, Cape and Falmouth at the end of this month.

Andreasen is hoping for a better showing when his team goes to Falmouth Oct. 3.

“Once they got their first goal of the second half we let our guard down,” he said. “We need to make them beat us with their best stuff. I don’t know if we did that tonight.”

“It’s always hard-fought against Greely,” Halligan said. “Next time we play them the shoe could be on the other foot.”