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Tuesday’s Boys Soccer: United Clinches League Title

United’s Brandon Cruz (5) shoots the ball while surrounded by White Salmon defenders during a 1A Trico League soccer game on Tuesday in Winlock.

TRICO CHAMPS: Barragan Scores Twice for Toledo-Winlock in 3-0 Win Over White Salmon

By Matt Baide

mbaide@chronline.com

WINLOCK — Gustavo Barragan scored two goals — one in each half — to lead United to a 3-0 win over White Salmon in a 1A Trico League boys soccer game here on Tuesday.

The win locks up the league title for the Toledo-Winlock combo squad, after King’s Way Christian and La Center tied in a scoreless game on Tuesday.

“This is one of the best performances we’ve had against White Salmon since I’ve been here, so I’m happy,” United coach Horst Malunat said. “We’ve just rode this wave. It’s not one person that does it; it’s a team effort.”

This is the second league title in the program’s history, following up the 2015 Trico championship.

“It’s weird because we did win, but we got help from other people. Otherwise we still would have had to win one more game,” Malunat said. “We’re pushing down the gas pedal really confident and knowing we can go full speed now without a lot of speed bumps.

“We’re just there to win. We don’t have to worry about anything else. We’re in control of everything now,” the coach added.

It was a scoreless game until the 27th minute. Andreas Malunat lobbed a through ball to Barragan, who sprinted past the defense and beat the goalkeeper that put United up 1-0 at halftime.

Barragan struck again in the 46th minute He took the ball up the right side, dribbled through a few White Salmon defenders to get to the top of the box and ripped a shot into the top right corner of the net for a 2-0 lead.

“I think the way we play and communicate with each other just makes us have a good offense and make more goals,” Barragan said. “I feel really good about this win because last year, they beat us at home and this year we were able to beat them, so it feels pretty good. I think I liked my second one better because it gave us a 2-0 lead — a comfortable lead.”

United capped the scoring in the 52nd minute, as a corner kick created a scramble in front of the net and found the foot of Brandon Cruz, who booted it into the goal to secure the win for United.

Alan Contreras spent all game in the net for United, making a handful of big saves to earn his ninth clean sheet of the season and third in a row.

“The defense helps a lot in the back. I’ve had a few opportunities where I’ve had to come out and get some shots saved,” he said. “But most of all, the teamwork that we’ve had and, basically, I just do my job.”

With the toughness of the United’s defense, teams tend to play more physical to try and get into the head of United players.

“We have been tough to score on, and I think it frustrates them,” Malunat said. “I think one of their players was jumping into people and pretty soon, they start fouling, because they just get frustrated because we’re possessing the ball. They’re trying to figure out how to stop us and they just start fouling.”

White Salmon has been kryptonite for United in years past, but that’s changed of late. United has won four straight against the Bruins, including a 3-1 win in last season’s District 4 tournament and two wins this season.

The win pushes United’s league record to 9-0. The combo squad has outscored their opponents 41-1 in nine league games this season; the lone goal allowed came against Stevenson on April 15, in an 8-1 United win.

“We want to be firing on all cylinders going into the playoffs. I don’t know if we’ll go undefeated in league. It’d be nice, but it’s tough to do,” Malunat said. “The possibility is there.”

Malunat thanked his coaches and volunteers — Rob Potestio, Rich Shepherd, Pablo Jimenez and Noel Vazquez — for their work this season.

United (12-1, 9-0 league) faces King’s Way Christian on Thursday for senior night festivities in Winlock.

Note: Tumwater defeated Centralia 2-1 in an Evergreen 2A Conference game on Tuesday.

W.F. West Beats Rochester for First League Win

W.F. West mixed up its lineup and saw immediate results on Tuesday in a 6-2 win over Rochester in Evergreen 2A Conference boys soccer action in Chehalis.

Joe Wahl scored in the fourth minute, Jacob Ford added a goal in the 17th minute and Drew Mann found the back of the net four minutes later for the Bearcats.

Rochester clawed back to trail 3-2 at halftime, but a pair of second-half goals from Luis Monzon-Barillas and a final shot from Chris Powell — assisted by Christian Mothuzima — gave the Bearcats more than enough offense for a win.

“It was really fun to watch,” W.F. West coach Tino Sanchez said. “The kids played well.”

Midfielders Jacob Ford, Colton Pruitt — the latter of whom normally plays defense — both played well, Sanchez noted, as did Liam Radtke, who moved from wing to defense in the win.

Brayden Mauermann moved from defense to forward and stood out, and goals from defenders Powell and Wahl were highlights, Sanchez added.

“All of them did great,” he said. “It was really exciting for the boys.”

W.F. West (2-9-2, 1-7 league) plays at Tumwater on Thursday.

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