Clark soccer team starts hot, never looks back
By Henry Will
To quote the classic film Cool Hand Luke, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”
The Storm men’s soccer team could not seem to get the lines of communication open in its crucial matchup against the league-leading Penguins from Clark College this past Saturday.
Once again, the weather took kindly to this mid-season game between two bitter foes of the NWAC, setting the stage for a clash of squads that would take place at Blanchet Field in Salem.
From the kickoff, you could see the hunger in the Clark player’s eyes as they quickly established position while attacking down the wings.
Chemeketa keeper Alfredo Lara was busy from the start, facing multiple shots inside the opening minutes.
In the tenth minute, Clark’s midfield orchestrated a slicing attack after a botched clear by Chemeketa, leading to a deep ball to a Penguin forward who rocketed the ball from right to left past Lara.
It was only downhill from there for the Storm, which gave up another goal off of a thrown-in header just 10 minutes after the opening score. Clark was now up 2-0.
“In general, the defense wasn’t talking,” Lara said. “It starts from the back, with me. I just didn’t show leadership”.
After the first half came to a close, you could see fight still in the Storm, but things continued to spiral downward after the halftime whistle.
Clark took the restart and never seemed to give up possession, increasing its lead to 3-0 just 11 minutes into the second period.
This time the speed of Clark’s forwards was too much for Chemeketa’s back line, and a Penguin winger looped the ball over Lara’s outstretched arms for the goal.
“Most of it was my fault. We just have to communicate better,” Lara said.
At this point, frustration seemed to set in on the Chemeketa side as the Storm picked up the first of two yellow cards in the 56th minute on an aggressive tackle on the north sideline.
It seemed as if the 60th through 70th minute might hold something special for the Storm, as the team continued to work the midfield passing lanes. But the Clark defense was too strong.
Every service into the box by the Storm seemed to bounce aimlessly to the keeper or meet a defenders boot for a clear.
Clark then added two garbage time goals in the 78th and 80th minutes to cement the 5-0 victory.
The Storm get another crack at Clark later this season.
“We’re going to play with more heart, we’re going to talk more, and we’re going to beat them,” Lara said.
Chemeketa now holds a 4-1-1 league record after a mid-week 2-1 victory against South Puget Sound this past Wednesday.
The team takes on Southwest Oregon next Saturday in Salem and will try to get back on the right track.