WESTBROOK—An early Ryan Shackley goal put Westbrook ahead of visiting Portland on Thursday, Sept. 28, but the Bulldogs battled back as the evening wore on, ultimately seizing the lead and winning 3-1.
“We wanted to expose their outside backs,” Westbrook head coach Vince Aceto said of Portland. “They’re a strong group up the middle – they have a really strong striker; we wanted to make sure we kept it off his feet into the outside part of the field most of the day.”
Portland controlled the majority of the attack, but Westbrook struck first, Shackley beating Bulldogs keeper Rowan Daligan roughly nine and half minutes in, assisted by Jean-Marc Lohomboli.
Portland nearly tied things up a couple minutes later, a ball that missed just wide of the left post. Similarly, 13 minutes after that, Bulldog Gracien Mukwa laid a nice bicycle kick on the Blazes’ net – but keeper Jacob Brackett was right there, and grabbed the shot handily.
Westbrook soon turned a couple quick chances of their own – one on a quick throw-in/header combo and another on a corner/redirect – but Daligan caught both to keep his boys safe.
Portlander Tahn Tiparos finally put the ‘Dogs on the board with 10:29 to play in the uphill half, a tally from very low on the left side of the Blazes’ cage. And once Portland found their groove, they never relinquished it: Alex Millones scored around the 27-minute mark of the second half (on a PK), and Pedra Fonseca scored approximately eight minutes later.
Westbrook slipped to 3-7 on the loss; the 11th-ranked Blazes travel to Sanford (14th at 3-6) on Tuesday, Oct. 3; they host Marshwood (sixth at 6-4) a week later.
No. 3 Portland, meanwhile, moved to 8-1. The ‘Dogs host Marshwood on Tuesday; they travel to Deering on Thursday.
Adam Birt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.
Portlander Aaron Hoekstra and Westbrooker Ahmad Qasem do battle.
Dan Hanley vies for a header vs. a Westbrook opponent.
Rowan Daligan, Bulldogs keeper, fires a ball upfield for his teammates.
A pair of Bulldogs defenders – Tyler Lemay (2) and Quinn Clarke (4) – close in on Westbrook attacker Jean-Marc Lohomboli.