The Armstrong boys soccer team has been one of the best in the state so far this season.
The Falcons rode a 7-game unbeaten streak into Wednesday night’s matchup with Park Center. The Pirates have proven themselves to be a tough out this season despite losing a lot of talent from last year.
But Park Center entered the game losing 2 of their last three games, conceding four goals in both losses.
It took some time for Armstrong to find their footing, but they eventually found the back of the net in a 3-0 win over the Pirates at Park Center High School.
In the opening 20 minutes, the Falcons had just one shot, coming from midfielder Micah Miller that went well over the crossbar. Armstrong was spending a lot of time on the ball with little to show for it.
The opening goal finally came with a little over 14 minutes remaining in the half. Forward William Saar, who came off the bench, received the ball on the right side of the penalty box. There was a defender near him but with some impressive individual skill, he cleared room for a shot that went right past the goalkeeper for a 1-0 lead.
Park Center’s strength in midfield was weakened on the night with the absence of sophomore Johanso Camacho. More responsibility fell onto the shoulders of Angel Martinez, Pablo Casillas Lopez and Adahir Brito-Salgado in the middle of the park.
They performed admirably in the first half with Armstrong’s midfielders - most notably Miller, Nathan Ore and Ryder Tomlinson-Sterud - constantly in their space and making plays defensively.
It didn’t take long for Armstrong to extend their lead right after halftime. Not even a minute had gone by when freshman forward Moses Kamara tapped in a cross from Miller to make it 2-0. Miller’s picture-perfect cross needed only the slightest touch to be directed towards goal. It was an instant gut-punch to Park Center as the game began to drift away from them.
Ten minutes later, Armstrong won a free kick in the attacking third. Nathan Hunt delivered the ball into the box for Mohammed Abdulrahman to put a head on. He made it 3-0 and the Falcons were on their way to victory.
A bad night got even worse for the Pirates later on as Casillas Lopez received a red card for an altercation with an Armstrong player after both went to the ground challenging for the ball. Due to the nature of the exchange, it could result in more than the one-game suspension a red card calls for.
Towards the end of the game, midfielder Titus Lee had to be helped off the field with a lower body injury.
Armstrong lost their first game of the season to Wayzata 5-2 on August 25.
Since then, they’ve remained unbeaten. The only blemish is a draw with Andover (7-0-1 conference, 9-0-1 overall) who is right with the Falcons atop the Northwest Suburban Conference standings.
They’ve outscored opponents 30-6 in their unbeaten run, aided by a 12-1 win over Totino-Grace on Sept. 6.
With how they've played so far, they have caught the eyes of their competitors. One big piece to their success has been the emergence of freshman forward Moses Kamara.
He is tied with Saar for the team lead with 6 goals. They’ve rotated time and shared the field and represent a deadly attack for the Falcons. Miller has chipped in with 4 goals and 8 assists, operating on the left side of the midfield.
Defensively, they’ve allowed 11 goals through 9 games, an average of 1.2 per game.
Fifth-ranked Maple Grove (7-1- conference, 9-1 overall) is on tap at Armstrong High School on Saturday, Sept. 24. The Crimson currently sit in third in the conference behind Armstrong and Andover.