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Thursday’s Boys Soccer: United Thunders Through Seton Catholic

Images from a 1A Trico League boys soccer game between United and Seton Catholic at Winlock High School on Thursday, March 28, 2019.

By The Chronicle

WINLOCK — With the game tied at one at halftime, a flash of light burst through the Winlock soccer field and a thunderous roar echoed throughout the stadium, forcing a 30-minute delay.

It turns out that is exactly what United needed, as Gustavo Barragan scored two goals early in the second half and United held on for a 3-1 win over Seton Catholic in a 1A Trico League boys soccer game here on Thursday.

“I think first half, we struggled. We made some mistakes and it was weird because that lightning actually gave me some more time to kind of calm them down. Actually, I’ve never coached that long at halftime, 30 minutes with the lightning,” United coach Horst Malunat said. “I think that helped me just to calm them down and it was almost like having a timeout in basketball, which I never get so I could reorganize, I could reshift things. Second half, we played much better and that’s the way I want to play the whole game.”

Barragan’s two goals came in the second half, but he had plenty of chances to get on the board in the first half.

“It’s definitely frustrating but thanks to my coach, Horst, he’s telling me to calm down and just look before I shoot because I’m not looking where I’m shooting,” Barragan said. “That’s why I’m just kicking it over the net or just missing it completely. Second half, I started making them on frame thanks to the advice I got from my coach, I made those two goals.”

After some early chances for United, the Cougars actually scored first as a handball in the box was called on United. Seton Catholic’s Seth Moore stepped up and buried the penalty kick for a 1-0 lead.

United tied the game in the 30th minute, as Andreas Malunat corralled a deflection off of himself and fired a shot into the net to even the game at one before the extended intermission.

“The biggest adjustment we made was in the defense, they’re going really long and we had to win the ball in the air and we weren’t doing a very good job of clearing the ball on the defensive end. Winning the ball in the air, we changed that,” Malunat said. “Also, we attacked the wing. We were kind of going really central up the middle and they’ve got two or three guys on Gustavo and they were closing things down but we really focused on getting the ball wide and attacking from the width and spreading them out and I think we did that pretty well.”

Barragan adjusted and had a great second half, including a goal in the 45th minute for a 2-1 lead.

In the 55th minute, Barragan scored again by weaving through the defense and putting home a shot inside the box.

Seton Catholic pressed to get back into the game but the United defense and goalkeeper Alan Contreras were up to the challenge to preserve the win.

“It was just a relief because it was our first lead in the game and we were up 2-1 and after the third one, I was just completely happy,” Barragan said. “First place and we did great.”

The win puts United in the driver’s seat in the Trico League as the only remaining undefeated team.

“We haven’t played Castle Rock or La Center but I would say I feel good about our situation because I think we’re going to get better. Of course, all the other teams are going to get better but I feel good where we’re at,” Malunat said. “We’re not where I want to be yet but towards the end of the season, if we’re there, I’ll be happy because we have moments where we look pretty good.”

United (4-0-4, 4-0) is off until after spring break, hosting Castle Rock on Tuesday, April 9.

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