Crucial mistakes cost Saugus in loss to Latin Academy

Saugus goalie Juan Lopez made a number of key saves down the stretch but the Sachems fell to Latin Academy. (Item File Photo)

SAUGUS — The Saugus boys soccer team started fast and had multiple scoring opportunities in the first half, but in the end a series of mistakes on the defensive end led the Sachems to a loss to Boston Latin Academy, 2-1, at Anna Parker Field Monday afternoon.

“You could tell we just weren’t communicating well today, while Boston Latin was communicating very well out there,” said Saugus coach Larry Bolduc. “It’s tough, because we had chances but we couldn’t get anything really going offensively. And we played good defense to start, but then we just made some errors that you can’t make if you’re going to win games.”

Alex Pugh had the lone goal for Saugus, while goalkeeper Juan Lopez made a number of critical saves throughout the match. William Perez, Jonathan Rodriguez and Jhonatta Almeida all had quality scoring chances over the course of the game, but each attempt just barely missed.

The Sachems got off to a great start, pushing the pace and getting a number of runs to the net on offense in the early minutes of the match. Saugus also forced two corner kicks, the second of which indirectly led to their only goal of the game when a Saugus player was pushed to the ground inside the box to force a penalty kick about 15 minutes into the first half.

The kick was taken by Pugh, who shuffled his feet quickly before firing a strike into the lower right corner of the net to give the Sachems a 1-0 lead.

Latin Academy started to push the pace a bit after the Saugus goal. The Dragons began to work the ball up the sidelines more, getting away from Saugus’ strength in the middle of the field. But, while Latin Academy did get several shot attempts off in the first half, Lopez turned everything away and the Sachems went into halftime with a 1-0 advantage.

Things changed in the second half, and rather quickly. Latin Academy was the more aggressive team coming out of the break, which resulted in a number of scoring chances. The Dragons were finally able to break through, literally, when Steven Dycaj slipped past the last line of defense, just barely remained onside, and found the back of the net for the tying goal a little less than midway through the second half.

The next Latin Academy goal came on behalf of a nightmare scenario for Saugus. After the Sachems fended off another Latin Academy scoring chance, Lopez gathered the ball near the goal and sent it out to one of his teammates in the defensive zone. But there was a miscommunication, and the ball was kicked right back to the Saugus net, where Lopez hadn’t gotten back to yet. Despite a diving attempt by Lopez to keep it out of the goal, the ball rolled into the back of the net for an own-goal and gave Latin Academy the lead.

Saugus made several attempts to score the tying goal before time ran out, including a near-miss by Almeida right in front of the net with just a couple of minutes left. In the end, the Dragons were able to run out the clock and hand Saugus its second loss of the young season.

The Sachems (1-2) need to have a short memory, as Saugus is back in action Tuesday afternoon (4) for a game against Amesbury. Saugus then dives back into the Northeastern Conference portion of its schedule with a road game at Classical Thursday night (7) at Manning Field.

“We’ve got two more games in the next two days, one of them against Classical which will be a great test for us,” Bolduc said. “They’re a tough, competitive team just like Boston Latin, so hopefully we can take some things from this game and be better going forward.”

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