The La Grande Tigers boys soccer team just needed a ball to find the net to get its offense rolling.
A penalty kick midway through the second half did just that.
Adam Endress nailed a PK in the 56th minute, one of two goals for the senior, and La Grande took off with two more goals late for a 3-0 win over Baker in Greater Oregon League play Saturday at Community Stadium.
“Sometimes it’s hard to get the first goal.” La Grande Head Coach Wade Wright said. “Once you get the first goal, the second and third ones seem to come a little easier.”
That was certainly the case Saturday. La Grande controlled possession and flow most of the afternoon, yet the team was unable to connect on several opportunities in the first half and went into the break in a scoreless tie.
But midway through the second half, Callum Ebel was fouled in the goal box, and Endress put home the penalty kick to break the ice on the offense.
“We knew it was a matter of time,” Wright said.
Endress and Ebel connected for two goals in the 61st and 76th minutes. It continued a trend often seen this fall of one assisting the other on a goal.
“They’re very different players, but the two of them together really complement each other really well, and they’re both good at that 1-2 touch kind of play,” Wright said.
That connection was on display late in the contest. Ebel dumped a pass to Endress in the box, which he put home while falling down, to make it 2-0. Later, Endress took the ball into the box, and tapped a heel pass back to Ebel, which he put home for the final margin.
“We just have a chemistry there, and it’s super nice to play with a player like that,” Ebel said.
La Grande had a 14-10 edge in shots, and Christian Waugaman recorded five saves in goal for the Tigers.
The win was important on two facets for La Grande. It not only kept the Tigers in the hunt for a GOL title, but gave the Tigers a tiebreaker if the teams finished tied in the final standings.
“We lost to Baker by two last time, and then won by three (Saturday) so we’re up in the goal differential,” Ebel said.
Wright said he is confident of where La Grande is headed into the final stretch of the regular season. In fact, wins in their final two contests against McLoughlin and Ontario would lock up a league title.
“We really put ourselves in a good position headed into the last two league games, and (we’re) playing with a lot of confidence,” Wright said. “We know that we can beat both those teams. The last game against Ontario was just a great match there, so we look forward to having them at home and getting a rematch.”
La Grande (6-3-1 overall, 2-1-1 GOL) visits McLoughlin Saturday.