Soccer playoffs: Falcons fly off handle

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RUMFORD — Mountain Valley remained in attack mode by spreading the wealth around, and it paid off in a Western Class C boys’ soccer quarterfinal game at Chet Bulger Field on Tuesday.

Rasmus Soegaard scored two goals in the first half as the No. 2 Falcons utilized their finesse and strong passing style in a convincing 4-0 win over No.10 Carrabec. It was the first quarterfinal game played in the Hosmer Complex in nearly two decades.

Mountain Valley (14-0-1) will host a semifinal game on Friday against No. 3 Hall-Dale in a rubber match. The Falcons won 1-0 during the season, but the Bulldogs prevailed on penalty kicks in the Mountain Valley Conference championship game last Saturday.

“I had been hesitant to change the lineup,” Mountain Valley coach JT Taylor said, regarding the Falcons’ attack mode. ”The first was up front (Eduardo Esteban and Soegaard) and then also moving Dylan Knox back to sweeper, but you’d never know by his play that he is just a freshman.

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“I also put in a double stopper and hoped to apply more pressure because this is the playoffs, and against Hall Dale we allowed them to dictate the action. We can’t allow that to happen.”

Mountain Valley started moving the ball around extremely well and applied constant pressure that led to repeated shots on goal in the first 12 minutes. The Falcons’ offensive barrage seemingly overwhelmed Carrabec goalie Colby Fortin and sent defenders scrambling. Esteban carried the ball down the left side and sent a crossing pass in the middle to Soegaard. The senior dribbled in and booted the ball into the far corner of the net 8:53 into the game.

“It was important for us to score the first goal,” Soegaard said. “It allowed us to get ahead and then put them away. We played well together as a team and we could pass the ball around.”

Carrabec regrouped and Seth Burns nailed a shot right at Falcon goalie Dakota Jacques (7 saves) that bounced across the crease to Tucker Phelps, who cleared the ball out of the zone. It jump started the transition game and Felix Promm booted a shot in to the far left corner. Esteban assisted on the play with 21:27 left in the first half.

“We had some disciplinary problems that required a change in our lineup,” Phelps said. ”We straightened things out and things worked out for us. But hats off to Carrabec because they never quit.”

Mountain Valley maintained its intensity level, with shots by Corbin Arsenault, Curtis Steele and a speedy carry by Connor Woods. Soegarrd put a nail in the coffin by scoring in the far corner with 6:19 left to play in the first half. Ryan Bennett had dug the ball out of the left alley and a shot bounced off Carrabec defender Paul Kaplan.

“It was good to see Eduardo (Esteban) play well,” Taylor said. ”He was the last foreign player to join the team and we’ve been moving him all around in an effort to find where he’ll be most effective.”

Gustav Gavenas, a left fullback, completed the scoring by floating a free kick 35 yards into the net early in the second half.

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