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Week 7: WA shuts out Putnam Science, STM by same 2-0 score

Coming into its match with Pathfinder FC on Oct. 13, the Woodstock Academy prep soccer team had lost four in a row.

It was time to switch things up.

“After a couple of losses and a big injury (Thomas Corridon suffered a torn ACL), we felt like we had to change something tactically. We changed our formation and changed how we we’re playing in a new formation to be more direct and to make the game as simple as possible. It’s not necessarily the most attractive football that we’re playing but it’s effective. We needed to do this just to get some positive results,” Woodstock Academy coach Joe Cherackal said.

The Centaurs now employ two strikers, five midfielders and three in the back.

It has helped the offense for sure as the Centaurs scored four goals in a win over Pathfinder FC and seven in a victory over Hoosac.

That success continued last week.

 On Wednesday, Woodstock Academy blanked local rival, Putnam Science Academy 2-0 and on Saturday, the Centaurs downed St. Thomas More, 2-0, in Oakdale.

It means the squad now sports and 8-5-2 overall record and a 5-2 mark in the Global Sports Education Partners League.

“It’s not that it’s just more offensive-oriented, it’s that it’s making more teams make the game. Before, we were asking a lot of our guys to do that. It makes them make decisions on the ball which coaches at the next level want to see. Right now, I’m taking away choices and making it as simple as possible. We’re winning and they’re happy with that,” Cherackal said. “It’s kind of like rock-em, sock-em American soccer and they’re excited to do it.”

The Centaurs dominated ball possession for the most part against PSA but only one of their 11 first half shots found the net.

Jesus de la Torre got the tally, his third goal of the season, when he took a ball that bounced off a Putnam defender and on to his foot.

He chipped it over the defense to his right foot, shifted to his left and put it into the lower left-hand corner.

“We need that goal 100 percent. We had to win this game,” de la Torre said.

Woodstock Academy had lost to Putnam Science Academy, 3-1. In September.

“I think the first time was different than this game. We’ve changed a lot, grown a lot. We’re all fighting every minute,” he added.

The Centaurs rested their laurels on the de la Torre goal until just about midway through the second half when Manuel Nieto took a long pass from the back, saw Putnam Science keeper Rafael Machado on his way out to challenge him and patiently chipped it over his head into the back of the net for his first goal of the season.

“The goal that he scored, and people don’t appreciate this, there was intent there,” Cherackal said of the Nieto tally. “People on his own team didn’t think that’s what he was trying to do but he totally meant to do that. He took a look, decided to execute his technique, not trying to kick it as hard as he could and chipped it right over. His ceiling is so high and he is only a junior.”

The happiest man on the field to see the Nieto tally was keeper Sten Lehmann.

“I think if it’s 1-0, it’s always hard because they can score any second and everything would change. When we scored the second goal, it was a good moment for us and we were able to calm down a bit,” Lehmann said.

The Centaurs finished off the week with the shutout on the road at St. Thomas More.

Two players scored their first goals of the season in the win.

Le-Minh Khieu and Mamadou Tall both put the ball in the back of the net for a first time this year off assists from Alejandro Minguela and Manuel Marquez.