COOS BAY — Marshfield couldn’t have gotten off to a much better start Tuesday in its Sky-Em League boys soccer match against visiting Junction City.
Barely two minutes into the contest, Marshfield’s Mason Pittenger took a pass up the line from a teammate and knocked the ball past the goalie, where Anthony Salinas put it in the net for an early 1-0 lead.
“That first goal set us up for success,” Pittenger said.
Marshfield coach Drew Jones agreed.
Some teams like to pack the defense against the Pirates, while Marshfield prefers to stretch the field where it can take advantage of its speed, he said.
“The early goal forced them to come out and play,” Jones said. “We like to play with pace. That’s what we do well.”
And Pittenger and Salinas were operating perfectly at wings, feeding off each other.
In the 27th minute, the pair teamed up again, with Salinas sending a pass down the pitch, where Pittenger chased it down, beating two defenders, and knocked it past Junction City’s goalie for Marshfield’s second goal.
“Anthony sent the ball and I went right at the keeper and beat him to the right,” Pittenger said.
The Pirates doubled the lead in the second half with a pair of goals from long distance.
Marshfield captain Pedro Casas blasted the ball past the goalie on a free kick from 25 yards in the 49th minute and Alberto Castillo, the Pirates’ leading scorer, fired a laser from 30 yards out a minute later.
From there, Marshfield’s defense easily finished the shutout.
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The accomplishment was even better given that the Pirates were down two starters.
“Zach Randle played the best game of his career,” Jones said. “He never came out and did a great job locking down that left side.”
The defense helped freshman goalkeeper Daniel Garcia post his second shutout of the season.
“He played hard,” Jones said. “That’s what he does.”
The entire team played well, which has been a repeating trend this year, Pittenger said.
“We have such a strong team this year,” he said, pointing to the team’s strong effort despite being short-handed.
“Knowing we have this deep of a bench is definitely motivating,” he said.
Marshfield improved to 3-3 in league play with its second win over the Tigers, and now has a big opportunity Thursday at Marist Catholic.
The Pirates nearly tied the Spartans in Coos Bay, before yielding a late goal in a 2-1 defeat.
“It’s a test,” Jones said, adding that he would love to get a win or draw against Marist Catholic.
Marshfield also still has a league match against Elmira, and with a power ranking of 16, a good chance to advance to the Class 4A play-in round if they are not able to catch second-place Cottage Grove (4-2) for second place and a guaranteed spot in the playoffs.