PAWTUCKET â€” Shea High coach Pierre Ridore compares his team to a luxury car. The Raiders are fast, they look good on an open course, and they make heads turn with the beauty of their engine running at full speed.
East Providence coach Tony Vieira found other words to describe the Raiders after his team dropped a 5-0 decision to Shea on Wednesday afternoon.
â€śPhysically, they are strong and they are fast,â€ť the coach said. â€śThey have three or four guys who can just blow by you. They do their best to set those guys up for scoring chances. They can beat you in so many ways. However it needs to be done, they can beat you. And I only see them getting better as the season goes on.â€ť
Itâ€™s hard to imagine Shea creating more scoring opportunities than it did against the Townies. East Providence, now 1-4-1 in league play, actually held the Raiders (3-1-1) scoreless for the first 30 minutes of the game before Emerson Barros set up Issifou Kankarafou for the opening goal. Six minutes later, Barros assisted on a goal by Ruben Fortes.
Shea led 2-0 at halftime. And the Raiders were just getting their sports car warmed up. Forward Joao Cardoso lent his skills to the relentless pressure Shea put on Towniesâ€™ goalkeeper Chris Moura, bending corner kicks at the net, and using his own speed to create scoring opportunities.
One of Cardosoâ€™s corners curved past Mouraâ€™s leap and was stopped by a defenseman doing his job while stationed at the left post of the goal.
A minute later, Moura roamed out of the box to contest Cardoso for a loose ball and lost the battle. Cardoso dribbled away from the sprawling goalie and knocked a 10-yard shot into the net just five minutes into the second half. This goal began a sustained 10 minutes of pressure in front of Moura, who made several tough saves before tripping up Barros on a breakaway just a few yards from the goal.
Cardoso drilled the ensuing penalty kick past Moura for a 4-0 lead. Vieira then swapped veteran goalie Helker DaCosta into the game for Moura and the senior soon had a good look at Barros trying to launch a scissors kick into the net. The shot deflected off the side of the netting.
â€śI thought we played very aggressive soccer today,â€ť Ridore admitted. â€śWe moved the ball much better. Thatâ€™s the way weâ€™re going to have to play on Friday against Portsmouth.â€ť
As good as the Raiders are, they stand third behind Portsmouth and Barrington in the Division I-East standings. Shea is 3-1-1 after five games. Portsmouth is 4-1, owning a 2-1 win over Shea and a 2-1 loss to Barrington. The defending state champion Eagles (3-0-1) played to a 2-2 tie with Shea last week.
Due to an Interscholastic League scheduling quirk, Shea will complete its regular season home-and-home schedule against its two top rivals following next Wednesdayâ€™s contest at Max Read Field against Barrington.
Ridore already is taking into account Fridayâ€™s forecast of rain.
â€śOur style is really not suited for a muddy field,â€ť he admitted. â€śWeâ€™re a team that likes to touch the ball one or two times and pass it. When it rains, the game changes a bit. We have to be ready to run through puddles and mud to move the ball. We must continue to be aggressive.â€ť
Ridore smiled as he tried to explain Fridayâ€™s matchup.
â€śIf our team is like a luxury car,â€ť he said, â€śPortsmouth is more like a Jeep.â€ť
Jeeps, of course, can be very effective on a muddy track. The Raiders have their work cut out for them on Friday evening. Game time is 7 p.m.
East Providence 0 â€“ 0 â€“ 0
Shea 2 â€“ 3 â€“ 5
First half scoring: 1. Shea, Issifou Kankarafou (Emerson Barros), 30:36; 2. Shea, Ruben Fortes (Emerson Barros), 36:00.
Second half scoring: 3. Shea, Joao Cardoso (una.), 5:00; 4. Shea, Joao Cardoso (una., penalty kick), 55:00; 5. Shea, Cecilio Nobre (una.), 76:00.
Shots on goal: Shea 20, East Providence 6. Goalie saves: Julio Garcia (S) 6, Chris Moura (EP) 9 saves, 4 goals. Helker DaCosta (EP) 6 saves, 1 goal.