By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
NORTH PORT — Opportunities were present all night long for the North Port High School boys soccer team.
Palmetto had roughly the same amount of chances, and was able to take advantage of early, as they rode that to a 3-1 win over the Bobcats Thursday night.
By the end of the match, the Tigers won the shot total 24-20, but it was within one shot in favor of either team for most of the night.
The difference was Palmetto scoring two goals in the first 20 minutes of the game. Frankie Arroyo scored the eventual game-winner in the 20th minute with a header off a well-executed corner kick from Jorge Morales.
That goal game 12 minutes after Arroyo was in on an assist of Gilberto Caballero’s chip-shot goal from the top of the box.
“We have not started a game well yet,” coach Gerard Gregoire said. “If we score on our first couple of chances – goals everything seem to work a little bit better. Until we can get on the front foot, and score an early goal, we’ll probably be battling for our lives in every game if we can’t find an early goal.”
North Port answered after taking a 2-0 deficit when a perfect through pass from Reuben Bohdanets found the foot of Jeremiah Simonthcik, who took it the rest of the way for a goal in the 24th minute.
It was the lone shot which found its way behind Palmetto goalkeeper Ryan Hirst. The senior aggressively recorded eight saves, many of which he made by chasing down a shooter, and stopping the shot from point-blank range.
“First time that’s I’ve had 0-3, so I’m not happy,” Gregoire said. “We’re just not finding our way to win right now, and it gets a little frustrating. We’re playing and we’re competing with teams. We’re just not scoring goals.”
Bobcat goalkeeper Edwin Gilmartin made eight saves in the loss. He allowed the Tigers’ third goal to Leandro Gonzalez in the 74th minute.
According to Gregoire, opponents are out-scoring the Bobcats 7-0 in the first 20 minutes of each match, which has contributed to the team beginning winless after three matches. A surprise, considering how well they did last season.