(Bridgton ME) “They are the best team in the state, I think.”
“They” being the UMaine Fort Kent Bengals.
And who would argue with the assessment given by Bridgton Academy coach Jim Hopkins.
The Bengals (5-0-2) were masters at possessing the ball in their, 6-0, shutout this afternoon at BA.
“We moved the ball nicely,” said Coach Oniqueky Samuels. “Our tactical awareness was very good.”
Adil Iggoute and Hannes Milan each had two goals for the visitors.
The Bengals erupted for five goals in the first thirty minutes and then were content to pass, pass, and pass some more.
FK goalie Pedro Ivaskoski was an integral part of their passing strategy.
“They hold each other accountable to keeping the ball,” said Coach Hopkins.
No doubt Fort Kent could have added more goals in the second half, but they settled for just one in the closing seconds.
“We can be effective in a lot of different ways,” said Coach Samuels. “We worked on how well we can possess the ball.”
“Their coach did a good job of not running up the score,” added Coach Hopkins.
The Bengals hardly went past midfield for almost the entire second half, yet they possessed the ball most of the time.
“It gave us practice in playing the ball in smaller areas,” said Coach Samuels.
“We always want to display good sportsmanship,” added Coach Samuels. “We respect our opponents and appreciate the chance to play. We can work on our game in many different ways.”
Adil Iggoute scored twice in the first ten minutes.
Forty seconds into the game, Adil drove a grounder by BA goalie Alex Bachman after a shot from the left.
Ten minutes later, Ted Fleuriscat’s corner kick was headed in by Adil from the middle of the box.
A Bridgton trip gave the Bengals a direct kick. Marcell Holness blasted the free shot from the left into the right corner.
In another five minutes, Adil set up Romario Plunkett beautifully for a left-footed shot.
So after eighteen minutes the deficit was already, 4-0.
“We just didn’t compete today,” said Coach Hopkins.
Before the half ended, Hannes Milan converted a turnover in the BA backfield into the Bengal’s fifth goal of the first half.
That fifth goal seemed to trigger a new approach by the visitors for the rest of the game. They no longer tried to finish. Instead, they were content to keep possession without threatening to score.
The Bengals did score (Hannes Milan) in the closing seconds of the game, but I strongly suspect that the shot on goal deviated significantly from FK’s second-half script.
Coach Samuels: “We have forty players on the team, and they are from thirteen different countries. On a regular year we play teams from Canada. We’re always looking for games. It’s good for the boys to travel.”
The Bengals were planning to travel to Vermont for an afternoon game with St. Michael’s tomorrow.
Coach Hopkins: “I wish I had been a neutral here today, I would have enjoyed watching them play. We played them in the spring last year and competed and lost, 4-0. Every single one of their players knows how to play. They’re smart and they train a lot. We’ve been together for three weeks.”
Adil Iggoute: “I am majoring in business management. I hope to become a digital nomad and work remotely while traveling around the world.”
Nice weather and a terrific field to play on.
May try to cover BA’s soccer game at home on September 20th.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)