Sweet Home boys fall to Newport on road in rough soccer game

The Sweet Home boys soccer team fell to 2-6 on the year Thursday, Sept. 30, with a 5-0 road loss to a 4-3-1 Newport squad.

The Huskies are still on the hunt for their first league win.

Most of the Cubs’ scoring came in the first half, as the home team leapt to a 4-0 lead.

According to Sweet Home head coach Eric Stutzer, when Newport was in the attacking third of the field, his midfielders struggled to apply pressure because they were dropped back too far on defense. This allowed Newport to set up a shooter from the 25- or 30-yard line, Stutzer said, and fire balls into traffic toward the goal.

“Sometimes our keeper [junior Evan Towry] couldn’t see the ball coming at him,” he said.

Newport accumulated 23 shots on goal to Sweet Home’s six.

Still, Towry made 15 “good, quality saves,” Stutzer said.

As the Husky defense held Newport to a single second-half goal, the team’s offense created opportunities. Sophomore Colton Savri’s free kick from outside the box bounced off the post, and junior Caleb Christman had a “really good one-on-one opportunity with Newport’s keeper, Stutzer said.

The coach further noted that junior defenders Chris Christman and Mason Lopez “played a much stronger game” than they had in a Sept. 11 contest against Sisters by “staying home more and trusting our outside backs to do their job.” The Huskies also won a few more 50-50 balls.

On the other side of the pitch, however, he said the team is “still struggling to get bodies into the attacking third, and we’re not moving the ball very well there. It’s hard to do tactically what we are trying to do in the attacking third, when our technical accuracy isn’t there. So that’s what we are going to be working on.”

Stutzer mentioned that Newport’s physical play was the most intense the Huskies have seen this year, and some should have been push-offs or offsides.

Such missed calls, he said, are “inevitable” with the two-referee system, a lineup that’s becoming more common in road faceoffs, as opposed to the three-ref system that’s been in place for all but one of Sweet Home’s home games.

“Because of COVID and how refs are treated in our state, it’s hard to get refs anymore,” he said. “All the sports are having this problem. There’s only so many referees to go around with the lack of referees in the system right now.” This issue, he added, “really wreaks havoc on high school sports.”

Sweet Home hosts Cascade at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5. As it happens, the Cougars, 1-3 in league and 3-4 overall, enjoyed their sole league win with a 3-1 victory over Newport. Still, Stutzer said that on paper Cascade is “almost dead even with us stats-wise” and predicted that the showdown would be “another physical game.”