Boys’ soccer: Concord watches 2-0 halftime lead vanish in crushing loss to Portsmouth

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 09-23-2023 8:57 AM

CONCORD – Tide head coach Scott Dunlop didn’t have much to say. He’d just watched his team blow a 2-0 halftime lead at home en route to a 4-2 loss to Portsmouth. There wasn’t much good that came of it.

“We’re going to learn from this situation,” he said following Friday’s loss. “That’s for sure.”

Exactly what they’ll learn? That remains to be seen. But for a team where 12 of the 19 players are either juniors or sophomores, there’s ample opportunity to grow moving forward.

The biggest area, Dunlop highlighted, was the group’s mental toughness. Things looked great for Concord (2-5) after senior Bronson Becker connected on a penalty kick in the 13th minute and added a second goal in the 30th. Things looked less great after the visiting Clippers (4-4) tied the score at 2-2 just 11 minutes into the second half. 

“It was a tale of two halves,” Dunlop said. “Everyone could see that. It was a tale of two halves.”

Besides the drop off in what Dunlop called “mental strength,” he also noted the offense’s ability to generate pressure in the early going, only to see it disappear later on.

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“We were definitely getting some penetration going forward through their midfield and their back line,” he said.

For a team coming off of a 6-7-4 season in 2022, it’s been similar inconsistency that’s plagued the Tide so far in 2023. Now 2-5, there’s still time to turn things around. However, Friday’s performance has to generate some concern for Dunlop that the wheels could fall off if his team can’t regroup.

“Not the performance we wanted to have in the second half,” he said. “That’s for sure.”

The Tide will hope to turn things around on Tuesday when it’ll be back in action on the road against a talented Manchester Central (6-2) team. 

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