Senior Dallin Lassen had it all mapped out.
The day before his Moscow boys’ soccer team staged a match with Lewiston, Lassen showed off his moves at a “Meet the Bears” assembly, during which he was prompted to flaunt his “favorite goal celebration.”
So after Lassen skied in the 71st minute, then fluidly flicked a header into the corner of the net, he made the next part look as easy as his second goal of the day did.
Lassen pumped his fist and cartwheeled into a back handspring. It incited some “oohs” and “ahhs” from the gathering, and was a fitting culmination of the Bears’ 4-0 rout of the Bengals on a balmy Thursday at the Moscow School District Community Playfields.
“I wrestle and we do a lot of tumbling,” Lassen said, laughing. “(On Wednesday), our coach said, ‘If you score, you gotta do that.’ ”
The day’s highlight might not have happened if Lassen hadn’t switched positions early in the match. He’s usually a defender, but pleaded with coach Pedram Rezamand to “send me up there for just one game.”
It also might not have occurred if teammate Amin Rezamand hadn’t placed a cross perfectly into the center of the box, positioning Lassen in front of his defender.
“That was just a great ball by Amin,” Lassen said. “Actually, I’m very proud of how I am in the air, so I felt confident taking that shot.”
Moscow (2-2-1) exuded confidence from the get-go. The Bears’ attack pressed the issue, continuously utilizing a “passing possession” style they pride themselves on, Pedram Rezamand said.
“It’s possession with a purpose,” he said. “We don’t necessarily do long balls. ... More passes, shorter passes and advance the ball up the field and on the ground.”
The organized approach brought about opportunity, of which the Bears had plenty of. Their first came just six minutes in, and it was a clean string of passing kick-started by Lassen. He snuck a dish inside to Brendan Grishaber, who promptly blooped it over to Evan Odberg. Odberg didn’t get a lot of drive on the kick, but he caught Lewiston goalkeeper Nikko Vega slightly out of position.
“That was a beautiful team combination,” Pedram Rezamand said. “We put six passes together, seven touches, then in, that’s it. Beautiful soccer.”
Defensively, Moscow had to key in on Lewiston’s star striker Emmanuel Kyei, “Otherwise, he would’ve killed us in the second half,” Rezamand said.
Kyei was the Bengals’ all-around catalyst. He put three shots on goal, each of them impressive attempts off dead sprints. But Bears goalie Finn Benson was situated ideally every time.
“He was just unlucky, couldn’t finish a couple of chances he had,” said Lewiston coach Jace Kessler of Kyei’s day. “Most of the time, those go in for him. Just wasn’t his day.”
Eight minutes into the second half, Moscow’s senior-laden shield in the midfield again warded off a Lewiston attack, then methodically nickel-and-dimed its way in. The ball was sent into the middle of a scrum and when it appeared again, Amin Rezamand was there to clean it up.
“After our second goal, I feel like they dropped their heads, which happens to a lot of teams in this game,” Lassen said.
The third goal, which came six minutes later, was comparable. A Moscow corner kick sailed into a mass of bodies, then popped into daylight, and was whipped in by Lassen.
“That was more luck,” Lassen admitted. “It came in, started bouncing around and I came up, saw an opening.”
In all, Benson saved three shots, and many times watched as the Bengals attempted to push the ball quickly, only to have rushed shots sail wide. Lewiston (1-1-2) goalies Vega and backup Kyson Barden were tested often, but combined for seven saves.
“Their keeper (Vega), he’s a fabulous keeper,” Pedram Rezamand said. “We knew they had excellent players. We just had to maintain possession of the ball, take chances on the goal.”
Lewiston 0 0—0
Moscow 1 3—4
Moscow — Evan Odberg (Brendan Grieshaber), 6th.
Moscow — Amin Rezamand, 48th.
Moscow — Dallin Lassen, 54th.
Moscow — D. Lassen (A. Rezamand), 71st.
Shots — Moscow 13, Lewiston 8.
Saves — Moscow: Finn Benson 3; Lewiston: Nikko Vega 4, Kyson Barden 3.
Colton Clark may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter @ClarkTrib or by phone at (208) 848-2260.