DARTMOUTH — It took just over 35 minutes for either team to find the back of the net, but once New Bedford did they never looked back, winning 4-1 over Bishop Stang boys soccer.
Despite all the distractions on the Bishop Stang campus — a cross country meet, field hockey whistles from the back field and a very vocal soccer crowd — the Whalers were in control for much of the match at Hugh J. Carney Stadium Tuesday.
New Bedford maintained possession for the majority of the match, executing short passes throughout while primarily keeping the ball on the ground, sticking to their game plan.
“That’s our backbone,” New Bedford coach John Macaroco said. “We try to break teams down with keeping possession and making that other team run and chase the ball. We get them chasing and it gets frustrating (for them) after a while.”
Dominating possession didn’t manifest into a number on the scoreboard until forward Daniel Soares found fellow forward Damon Green with a perfectly placed through ball. That marked Green’s 14th goal in 12 games, and he would score his 15th in the second half with help from forward Michael Florez.
“Damon, if he’s on he’s unstoppable,” Macaroco said. “He’s a strong kid, great speed. I don’t think there’s one defender that we’ve played against that can keep up with his strength and speed. He’s got a nice shot, just add a little more confidence to his touches here and there, but he’s a dangerous player.”
Although Green was the focal point for Bishop Stang’s defense, and displayed why, he thought more could have been done on his part early in the match. Particularly when it came to finding space on the field.
“The (Stang) center back kept giving me room and I figured get some space and take him one-on-one,” Green said. “I think I could have played better. It came down to how I did in warm-ups. Slacked a little bit and then finally kicked in.”
On the other side of the pitch, the Spartans had a different plan. While New Bedford tried to be concise and tight with its passing, Stang consistently aimed to spread the field.
“We like to keep it really, really wide and try to stretch the other team out,” Stang coach Dave Pacheco said. “At times it worked, but when you have a day like today where the guys’ touch is not there, the passing is not there, the system doesn’t work. It showed and it’s very easy to get dispossessed, especially on two of their goals. The counter attack, they just come right back at you and we have nobody behind to defend.”
The Spartans weren’t able to score in the flow of the game, with their lone goal coming on a free kick 23 minutes into the second half off the foot of midfielder Tyler Trate. Trate’s goal wasn’t a typical free-kick goal, given he took the shot three feet in front of midfield.
“That’s not the first time,” Pacheco said. “The thing with high school soccer is, when it comes to keepers, not all of them are confident coming out. So we take advantage of it, put it in the box, you never know what’s going to happen. Tyler’s actually had three or four like that this season, from 30, 35 yards out. He puts it in and somehow finds the net.”
WHAT IT MEANS: New Bedford (10-1-1, 0-0-1 Big 3) is back in action at home Thursday at 6 p.m. when they host Durfee, who they tied earlier in the season. “We’re pretty confident,” Green said on the upcoming match. “We didn’t play as well as we could’ve (last time).” … Bishop Stang (2-5-4, 1-1-2 Eastern Athletic Conference) hosts Coyle-Cassidy on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. and will play their EAC rivals again Tuesday. … “The hope and the thought is we’re going to win both games and put ourselves in a good position at 4-5-4 heading into the week,” Pacheco said.
NEW BEDFORD GOALS: Forward Marcos Estavao scored one minute and 30 seconds after Green’s first goal in the second half on a pass from midfielder Gil Antunes. … Daniel Soares scored New Bedford’s final goal, with an assist from Taylor Botelho.
KEEPERS PUT TO THE TEST: Declan Markey fought off most of the barrage on net, saving eight shots on goal for Stang. … Javier Avendano made four saves in net for the Whalers, making several big plays when the Spartans had a good look at the net.
Follow Nick Friar on Twitter @Nick_Friar.