Two teams suddenly heading in opposite directions continued their respective paths last Friday afternoon when visiting Freeport scored twice early in the second half and beat Baldwin, 2-0, in a Nassau Conference AA boys’ soccer match.
Sophomore Josue Villeda broke a scoreless tie 43 seconds into the second half and junior Rendersley Clercius added an insurance goal about three minutes later as the Red Devils (2-4-1 in AA, 3-4-2 overall) ran their unbeaten streak to four consecutive games after opening the campaign winless in five straight. Senior goalkeeper Angel Flores-Miranda made four saves for his second shutout of the year. Scoring woes continued for the Bruins (0-6-1, 0-7-2), who were blanked for the fifth game in a row.
“All we can do is keep our heads up and worry about the next game,” Baldwin coach Chris Soupios said. “We’ve tried a lot of different combinations to get some offense going. We got one of our best players [Jonah Weekes] back from injury today so he’s going to give us a boost.
“We’ve lost a bunch of one-goal games,” he added. “We want to finish on a good note, especially for the seniors.”
Senior keeper Michael Paray made eight saves, including a tremendous diving stop off a direct free kick off the foot of Freeport senior Brian Vasquez from about 30 yards out with 15 minutes remaining in the first half. Baldwin’s best scoring chance came with two minutes to go.
“We had to experience some bumps before we could get into a groove,” first-year Red Devils coach Craig Klasson said. “Our chemistry has improved and we’re playing the kind of disciplined soccer we knew we could play. We’re happy we still have an opportunity to work our way into playoff contention. We still have a way to go and we’re only worried about the next game. It’s a night home game [Thursday at 7] against East Meadow.”
After allowing 12 goals in its first five games under Klasson, Freeport has given up just four in the last four. Senior Rob Hernandez is holding the fort down in the back, and senior newcomer Sevastian Rivas 7 has brought energy at forward, Klasson said.
Rivas set the tone with an early goal in Freeport’s 4-1 victory over Hempstead on Sept. 25. Senior Noe Gonzalez, who leads the team in scoring with three goals and three assists, found the back of the net twice. Rivas also scored in a 1-1 tie with first-place Massapequa. “The confidence is definitely brewing,” said Klasson, who lauded the leadership of senior captains Vasquez, Flores-Miranda and Randy Perada. “When we played Massapequa, they were in first and we were in last,” the coach added. “That was our turning point.”
Both teams have five games remaining. The Bruins will try to break through against Port Washington at home on Thursday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. Their goal scorers to date are senior Yaw Bonsu and junior Timo Quane. “We have to show up and continue to battle,” Soupios said.