Marshfield-North Bend soccer

North Bend’s Steven Lua, left, and Marshfield’s Alberto Castillo battle for possession of the ball this week.

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NORTH BEND — Marshfield’s boys soccer team has a lot to be excited about as the Pirates work their way through their special fall season with North Bend.

The Pirates have shown strong potential with a roster with almost no seniors, and is getting better all the time.

“The more we play together, the better we’ll get,” said Ernesto Hernandez.

Marshfield likes to play fast and has the athletes to push the ball up the pitch and create chances. And the players are fine-tuning their skills to fit that style of play.

“Everyone is getting better with their first touch,” Hernandez said. “Everyone is getting quicker determining who to pass to.”

Marshfield was able to use those skills to get a couple of early goals against the Bulldogs while building a 3-0 halftime lead in their match this week.

“We started off strong,” said Ismael Rodriguez.

Marshfield was particularly good in the midfield and with its back line defense, Hernandez said.

Getting the chance to play this fall after the regular season was postponed to early next year has helped a lot, and the Pirates are enjoying the chance to meet the Bulldogs several times.

“It feels good to be playing another team than ourselves,” Rodriguez said.

“Everybody is getting more chances,” Hernandez added. “We’ll be in good shape when the (regular) season starts.”

North Bend is getting better, too, learning as a team. The Bulldogs got an unexpected lesson during this week’s game when a player was given a red card for a hard tackle on Marshfield’s Anthony Salinas on a breakaway in the first half — unfortunately for the Pirates, Salinas suffered a serious ankle injury on the play and had to go to the hospital in an ambulance.

The impact for the Bulldogs was that they had to play with just 10 players the entire rest of the way.

“Obviously, playing a man down for most of the game we had to change a few things,” North Bend coach Dustin Hood said. “I was happy with the way our guys responded and played a cleaner game. We didn’t give up a goal after the red card, so that was a positive.

“We had a kid make a mistake and hopefully the entire team will learn from it and become smarter players.”

Hood said he has been impressed by the Pirates over the past few weeks and felt terrible about the injury.

“It is really sobering when an athlete goes down like that,” he said. “I hope the young man is OK and has a speedy recovery.

“Marshfield possesses the ball well and spreads the field nicely.”

The Pirates got goals by David Flores (assisted by Alberto Castillo) and Julian Torres. The penalty kick following the red card was converted by goalie Danny Garcia, giving the goalkeeper a rare chance to score in a match.

Even though the Bulldogs had just 10 players on the pitch the final 40 minutes, North Bend actually got a goal in the second half, by Steven Lua.

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