The Portland Pilots hosted the Washington Huskies under the lights of Merlo Field on Friday night. After a hard fought and aggressive game, the Pilots improved to 5-0-1 on the year with a 1-0 victory.
The first half was played aggressively by both sides. However, neither team was able to take advantage until the 21st minute. Portland ended the half with seven shots to the goal. Washington ended the half with five.
Junior striker Benji Michel had the goal that put the Pilots ahead in the 21st minute. Michel played the bounce off a shot to the right side of the box before crossing the keeper to bury the ball by the left post.
“I made sure to follow through and watch that one to the back of the net," Michel said.
A scary moment for the Pilots came later in the half as a ball bounced to wide open Washington midfielder redshirt junior Joey Parish, who sent the ball flying a foot over the crossbar. The half ended with the Pilots up 1-0.
The second half continued to be aggressive and fast with both sides desperately searching for a goal. Both teams had chances inside the box but failed to deliver a goal.
Washington had multiple free kicks from close proximity to the box. However, the Pilots back line and redshirt senior goalkeeper Kienan Weekes stood his ground to help seal the upset.
The Pilots showed resilience in the second half as Washington tried to push the ball into the box.
“We just have to put men in the box and man up to deal with it. It's been a theme for us all year getting gritty in the back line,” Weekes said. He ended with six saves and a clean sheet.
The Pilots will host American University at 7 p.m. on Sunday at Merlo Field.