Monday’s Boys Soccer: United Overcomes Missed Opportunities to Best Bulldogs

United’s Andreas Malunut (8) controls the ball Monday night in Winlock.

By Jordan Nailon / jnailon@chronline.com

WINLOCK — It wasn’t exactly how they drew it up but United wound up securing a 3-0 win over Montesano here on Monday in the opening round of the 1A District 4 boys soccer playoffs.

The futbol boys from Winlock and Toledo got off on the right foot when Andreas Malunat used his head to redirect a pass from Isaac Garibay into the back of the net. In that moment it looked like United might be able to run away with the game without much trouble but the next 36 minutes passed by without another score for the home team.

It wasn’t that United didn’t have their chances, though. For the game they put up 25 shots compared to just one shot by the Bulldogs.

“I almost think we scored too quick because then we kind of let off the gas. I think that was an issue. It was like, oh this is easy, but then we let a minute slip off. And then another minute. And another minute,” said United coach Horst Malunat. “We scored and then it was just long, and missed shots. It was slow.”

Malunat was ready to throw himself under the bus for his team’s propensity to misfire in their district opener.

“We just didn’t look as sharp. I mean we moved the ball pretty well. We were moving and attacking but we just weren’t finishing,” noted coach Malunat. “Gustavo (Barragan) probably could have had two, three goals in the first half. The Ethridge boys each should have had another goal. It could have been 5-0 at halftime pretty easily but that’s the thing about soccer. Sometimes it’s hard to score.”

After heading into intermission with just a 1-0 lead Malunat implored his charges to play a more precise style of soccer in the second half.

Thomas Ethridge helped United find a little breathing room in the 59th minute when he dumped a pass deep in the box to Gustavo Barragan who promptly put the ball in the back of the net. Less than ten minutes later Isaac Garibay received a cross from Barragan and chipped it into the goal for United’s third and final goal.

Malunat said he was particularly pleased with the way his team was playing in the time that surrounded those two scores.

“I think the opportunities were better. The guys did a little bit better in the second half on the finishing end,” Malnat explained. “Ultimately we could have had a few more but in the end it’s just tough. In the playoffs the opportunities to score are going to become less and less so I told them, hey, we’re getting a lot of opportunities to score and not scoring. In the playoffs we may only get one or two and we’ve got to put them away. Otherwise we may not get another chance.”

While United goalkeeper Alan Contreras had a slow night in the tender’s box, his long-sleeved counterpart, Max Urbanski, was busier than the Autobahn at rush hour as he stopped 22 of 25 shots on the night. That effort did not go unnoticed by Malunat.

“He’s actually from Germany and he and I were talking in German a little bit there so that was pretty fun,” noted the United coach. “He was kind of surprised. He’s from the eastern part of Germany. It was good stuff.”

United will face Elma on Wednesday at Tenino at 7 p.m. in the district semifinals.

Saturday’s Results

Centralia Comes Back to Top Ridgefield

The Tigers surrendered the lead to Ridgefield in the first half, but were able to tie the game and score the winning goal in overtime to win 2-1 in a District 4 2A boys soccer tournament quarterfinal game at Tiger Stadium in Centralia on Saturday.

Julian Velazquez scored in the second half off of a corner kick to even the score.

In overtime, it took less than a minute for the Tigers to score as pressure allowed Centralia to send a cross into the box that hit the crossbar, but the rebound came to Velazquez, who was able to knock it down and find the back of the net for the game winning goal.

“I was real impressed. They didn’t get rattled. They played their game, we’re a passing team, they’re a long ball team,” Centralia coach Phil Strodemier said. “We were able to adjust. Everything that they tried to put down after that was way over the top or to the side, didn’t get anything direct at us anymore. They still pressured us but our guys were able to snuff that out, they played well.”

Centralia will head to Vancouver on Tuesday to take on Columbia River in the semifinals. The Chieftains are 16-0-1 this season, including a 7-0 win over W.F. West in the quarterfinals.

“Playing a juggernaut team, the guys have to stay loose and have to just go with what works for them,” Strodemier said. “We’ll try to tighten up the defense, there’s a reason why they beat every team they play. They’re all club players, it’s hard to defend against that. We’ll give it our best run. Our best run is doing what we do best and that’s what we’re going in with.”

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