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Woodbury boys soccer: Royals cruise past Forest Lake, fall short at North

Woodbury found its edge in time for the conference opener.

The Royals ran past Forest Lake in a 5-0 win on Thursday to move to 3-0 on the season at the time. Royals coach Joe Quintavalle had wanted more energy from his team after barely beating Hill-Murray in its previous game.

“We played a good, solid game all the way through,” Quintavalle said.

Matt Jessen Howard put the Royals ahead 1-0 early on the first of his two goals, and he later added his second to make it 3-0. One of his goals came on a 30-yard kick. Keng Xiong also scored a goal for the Royals in the first half help his team to a comfortable lead at the half.

Kohei Adams scored the first goal of his high school career in the game, and Brandon Bieszek had a goal and assisted on one in the Royal route. Yuki Adams also had an assist. Goalkeeper Jake Simon earned the shutout with four saves in the win, and his defense gave him plenty of support.

“We didn’t give them any chances,” Quintavalle said. “Jake Simon really didn’t have to make any big saves.”

A couple days later, the Royals had plenty of chances to upset No. 3-ranked North Saint Paul on Saturday. The Polars had gone ahead 3-0 in the first half, but the Royals found a multitude of scoring opportunities in the second half with 17 shots.

“In second half, he possessed the ball much better and we created more scoring chances,” Quintavalle said.

Bieszek first threatened to put the Royals on the board when his kick hit the cross bar early in the second half. He had four shots in the game.

“If that goes in, it’s 3-1 and it’s a new game since it was so early in the half,” Quintavalle said. “We had the ball in their half most of the time. We created chances, we just couldn’t finish.”

To the Polars’ advantage, the Royals did not get a goal until a little over eleven minutes remaining in the game. Sebastian Usurriaga put that goal in the net after beating his man. The Polars later cushioned their lead with a late goal for the 4-1 win.

“They didn’t dominate,” Quintavalle said about the Polars. “I told the guys at halftime, they’re not totally controlling the game. We just gave them some good chances.”

One goal for the Polars came in between two defenders, and their first came on a rebound. The Royals lost their first game of the season and dropped to 3-1.

“I told the guys, if this can make us a better team, I don’t mind losing it,” Quintavalle said.

—Matthew Davis