Ranger Soccer Struggles Continue in 3-1 Loss to Portage Northern

Ranger Soccer Struggles Continue in 3-1 Loss to Portage Northern

Tyler George, Sports Reporter

After falling behind 1-0 a few minutes into the game, the Forest Hills Central Varsity soccer team was unable come back to beat Portage Northern in their sixth game of the season. The Ranger’s struggles continue as they move to 3-3 on the year due to a lack of offensive production.

“We’ve scored three goals in six games this year so goal scoring is a definite focus for us,” said head coach Blair Lincoln.

The Rangers were scoreless in the first half, but after moving junior goalie Jared Ireland into their offense, they were able to score right out of the half. That goal came from senior captain Kevin Conn 4:20 into the second half.

“We weren’t producing anything up top and Coach Blair knows that I can run, so I ran and we eventually got a goal out of it,” said Jared, who led FHC to a state championship in goal last year.

After scoring early in the second half, everything would go downhill from there. A couple of defensive breakdowns led to easy goals for the Huskies of Portage Northern.

“We’re a little banged up in the back line, and goalkeeping isn’t an issue. I thought our goalkeeping was good today,” Lincoln said.

The absence of senior captain Noah Saleh defensively hurt the inexperienced Ranger defense as Saleh left Friday’s game early with a hamstring injury.

“I think it’s letdowns in the midfield, turning the ball over, and playing a little slowly,” Lincoln said. “Then we get stuck in the midfield and turn the ball over, and then our defense is under pressure.”

The defense would stay under pressure throughout the game, as Portage Northern had multiple chances in the second half. According to Kevin, the offense producing is dependent on the play of the defense.

“Our offense starts with our defense, when our defense gets better it will transition into offense,” Kevin said. “We also need to get more shots, more shooting.”

Looking ahead, the Rangers look to make some adjustments and improve to 4-3 this coming Wednesday against Northview.

“We just need to stay composed and work harder throughout the whole 80 minutes,” Jared said. “We need to step to the ball, win the ball, and go in hard at every single tackle.”