The Washington Post

Boys’ soccer: Forest Park starts strong, displays depth

Gar-Field’s boys’ soccer team didn’t arrive on Forest Park’s campus until a few minutes after 7 p.m. on Monday night, and even though kickoff was pushed back by 20 minutes or so to accommodate the delay, the Indians were never in the AAA Cardinal District contest.

No team has forged much of a contest early this spring against the undefeated Bruins (6-0), who made quick work of their opponent on a balmy evening in Woodbridge. Andrew Jones and Brandon Clegg each scored two goals in the first half during the 4-2 win, giving No. 3 Forest Park a 20-3 scoring margin over its last five wins.

Jones in particular was dominant. After he converted a goal off a set piece in the 29th minute to push the score to 2-0, he snuck behind the Gar-Field defense on breakaway a few minutes later, only to be hooked by an Indians defender – which resulted in a red card and a penalty kick for Jones. He converted, beating Gar-Field’s goaltender in the lower right corner to make it 3-0, giving Jones his sixth goal of the season and all but sealing the win in the 32nd minute of the first half.

“That was my second [penalty kick] of the season,” Jones said. “I favor that right side. I’m probably going to have to switch it up now.”

Forest Park’s hot start to the season has surprised fifth-year head coach Justin Joswick, who had six players leave his program this year to focus solely on playing academy soccer. Five of those players would’ve started on his team this spring, he said, and the team has scrambled to place players like Jones in new roles.

Clegg, just a freshman, leads Forest Park with eight goals and has asserted himself as one of the team’s best offensive players. After scoring a hat trick in a 6-0 win over Potomac (Va.) last week, Clegg scored within the first five minutes of the game Monday, and added the final goal of the game in the final minute.

“We’re really deep,” Joswick said. “I was really impressed with my boys the way they came out and started the game. We just have this start to finish mentality that I need them to perform.”

Joswick added that he expects Gar-Field to be a stronger side in the second half of the season, when the teams meet again May 3. Forest Park has seven regular season games remaining, including two dates with perennial power AAA Northwest Region power Osbourn Park. A year ago, Joswick dealt with players missing weekly practices due to commitments with academy teams, but as the season progresses this spring, his club is getting more repetitions as a unit and “the team chemistry and team unity is a lot better,” he said.

Still, Jones didn’t expect his team to be playing so well six games in.

“I’m definitely surprised,” Jones said.” Losing a lot of our players last year, a lot of our key players, we just came back and performed. We’re a strong team.”

The Post Top 10

One night after Lake Braddock battled to a 3-3 tie with Oakton, the Bruins beat Lee 7-0 on Tuesday behind two goals apiece Stephen Durbin and Ricardo Munoz. Durbin also had two goals against Oakton. . . . South Lakes, which has already played two overtime games this spring, got eight saves from T.J. Bush in a 1-0 win over Mount Vernon (0-3-1) Monday, and followed up with a 1-0 win over Stone Bridge (2-4-1) Tuesday. . . . W.T. Woodson beat South County (0-6) 3-1 to earn its fourth straight win Tuesday, led by one goal and two assists from Scott Patterson, and six saves from Carlos Canas.

1. Oakton (5-0-1) LW: 1

2. Lake Braddock (4-0-2) LW 2

3. Forest Park (6-0) LW 3

4. South Lakes (5-1) LW: 6

5. T.C. Williams (4-0-1) LW 4

6. Tuscarora (4-0-2) LW 5

7. Herndon (4-1-2) LW: 7

8. W.T. Woodson (4-1) LW: 8

9. West Potomac (4-0-1) LW: 10

10. Langley (4-1-1) LW: NR

Dropped out: No. Hylton (3-1-1)

Bubble: Hayfield (6-0), McLean (3-1-1), Broad Run (4-0-3)

Roman Stubbs covers the University of Maryland athletics for The Washington Post.



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