Ridgeview High could cramp Jaden Dubon’s style for only so long Thursday before something was bound to give. When the Hood River soccer player finally got some space — and some nice passes — it was match over.
With less than a minute to spare.
Dubon’s three goals, all in the final eight minutes, lifted HRV to a 3-2 Intermountain Conference road win and kept the Eagles in first place with a 3-0 record. The final tally came in the closing minute and took Dubon to his quiet place.
“Everything went quiet, and I just placed it in the bottom right,” he said of the game-winner. “Right foot, bottom right. He (the goalkeeper) went to the opposite side.”
The score came after Dubon caught up to a through-ball with Ridgeview defenders in pursuit. There was about a minute to play when a Ridgeview thrown-in went toward the HRV goal. After some jostling, HRV defender Jose Baeza cleared the ball past midfield. The confident Dubon said he let the ball sail over his head, and when he saw it also clear the last Ridgeview defender, he knew he would be one-on-one with the keeper.
“Our boys just did not quit,” Coach Jaime Rivera said of HRV, which fell behind 2-0 early. “And (as a result) you end up with a performance like that. I’m still kinda in shock.
“Guys that I had subbed off were asking me, ‘Just give me one more shot, I’m feeling it’,” Rivera said. “We knew we could score a goal. And so we did.”
Three of them, to be exact – in the final 10 minutes. Rivera moved Dubon from midfield to forward, in hopes of getting the HRV junior free from double teams. Instead of trying to dribble free, Dubon dropped the ball back to his midfielders and then broke open with his footspeed to get return passes.
“He gave the ball up and then got it back after breaking into space,” Rivera said. “All he needed was a little room.”
Dubon received through-balls from Ritter Sundby and Cody Cornejo and converted each into goals to pull the Eagles even with four minutes remaining. Instinct told Dubon not to settle for the tie.
“After the second goal I didn’t choose to celebrate,” Dubon said. “I knew there was still time to score.”
He got his opportunity a short time later, as the clock ticked below a minute. “(The ball) was straight down the middle. When I saw it go over the centerback’s head I knew,” Dubon said. “I outran him to it. I saw the goalie come out. As soon as I touched it, I knew it was in.”
The Ridgeview match was the third in three days for the Eagles, who lost a non-leaguer Tuesday, 2-0, to visiting Clackamas, before thumping Crook County, 8-1, on Wednesday. Class 6A Clackamas cramped HRV’s offense with a stingy, physical defense.
“We were able to get into their 18 a few times — the attacking third of the field,” Rivera said. “But we weren’t able to get anything on frame — not many opportunities.”
The league match against Crook County was the perfect antidote. “That was definitely a good game to have after a tough loss,” Rivera said. “For me, the tone of the team was important — sort of our vibe after a tough loss. For me, the highlights were seeing the guys have fun, seeing some smiles on their faces, remembering why we’re all there. We were able to enjoy that game together. Everyone played minutes so that’s another positive.”
The lopsided win over Crook County put the Eagles into a better frame of mind going into the road match at always-tough Ridgeview. “Since we’ve been in the same league, it’s been us and them,” Rivera said.
The Ravens scored two first-half goals, then pinned down HRV’s offense after intermission. “They surprised us with those goals — nice goals,” Rivera said. “They had good ball movement; they were just catching us flat footed. It was one of those game where you could sense the frustration in the kids and where all you can do as a coach is just calm things down.”
The Eagles got their second wind and caught fire. “You don‘t see these performances too often and when you do it’s special,” said Rivera. “We knew we could score a goal, and so we did. We started moving the ball around a little bit better. They were double teaming, so it was hard for Jaden to get any work done.”
Dubon’s two fast-break goals knotted the game and shifted the momentum in HRV’s favor. “They had a great chance still against us,” Rivera said. “Ridgeview was pressing us as hard as they could to not allow us to pass out of the back. (But) they were just tired after our second goal.
“Then the pass came over the defense and Jaden broke into that space again. It was like slow motion.”
Dubon, who is attracting attention from college soccer coaches and will receive more focus when he plays on a U-18 national team in Costa Rica this summer, has been sending out highlight videos lately. “I’m going to make a new one,” he said.