Auburn Riverside duo double-trouble for foes | Boys soccer

Last year was no picnic for the Auburn Riverside boys soccer team.

Last year was no picnic for the Auburn Riverside boys soccer team.

Although the squad did not lack for talent, finding the back of the net was a struggle, the boys scoring just 12 goals all season and finishing up with a 1-9-6 overall record.

At mid point this season, the team has eclipsed that sum. Indeed, its leading scorer, Jordan Loomans, has already tallied 12 goals all by himself.

Senior Adrian Correa, a four-year varsity starter, said the key this year has been the chemistry.

“Offensively, we’re more creative and more of a threat,” Correa said. “And we play for each other more this year, we look for each other and combine more. We all work hard. Before we had individual talent, but nobody worked for each other. On the field we don’t argue with each other, we stay as one as a team. We’re always a team, not individuals.”

The team has benefitted as well from the return of junior midfielder Brandon Gonzalez, who took his sophomore year off to play for the Sounder’s Academy developmental team.

“It’s pretty much like the top level youth soccer teams,” Gonzalez said. “It’s an MLS (Major League Soccer) academy, so we play teams all over the country like Los Angeles, San Diego, all over. So I didn’t get to play for the high school last year. But this year I’m back.”

Gonzalez said that as one of the youngest payers on the Academy’s U18 team, he didn’t expect to get much playing time, so he arranged to play for Auburn Riverside this year.

“It’s nice just to be back playing soccer with my friends,” Gonzalez said.

Next year, however, Gonzalez said he expects once more to trade in his Raven blue for Sounder green and improve his chances to play at the next level.

“I think this is probably the last year I’ll play high school,” he said. “The exposure is just much greater [with the Sounder Academy].”

For this year, however, Gonzalez is applying his skills and the experience he garnered with Sounders Academy to his high school squad.

“It’s helped a lot with my development as a player, playing at that higher level,” Gonzalez said. “Coming back here and playing with these guys just pushes you further to become a leader.”

Also stepping up to help lead the Ravens in its quest for the postseason is Correa, one of the team’s co-captains.

“I just want to try to help the team and be a leader on the field,” Correa said.

Although the addition of Gonzalez and the continued improvement of Correa have helped spark Auburn Riverside this season, head coach Robyn Saarenas said the supporting cast has stepped up, too.

“The supporting cast is absolutely amazing,” Saarenas said.

“[Goalkeeper Andy Starkel] has been huge, he’s having the season of his life, and he’s only a sophomore. And my two center backs (senior co-captain Nick Rogerson and senior transfer Charlie Gulotta) are solid as a rock. Add Loomans to that mix, and we have a good group.”

And the success brought on by this year’s squad has translated into more support at games, according to Correa and Gonzalez.

“We have more fans now,” Gonzalez said.

“It feels good, we have more fans at games now than any other year,’ Correa said.

Auburn Riverside (6-1-0 league, 6-2-1 overall) hosts Enumclaw (2-5-0, 3-5-1) at 7 p.m. April 22 at Auburn Riverside High School.