Boys soccer: Top-seeded St. Joseph riding impenetrable defense in 2A playoffs
OGDEN — There have been many times in soccer games this season where Gustavo Andrade stands 30 yards in front of his goal for minutes at a time and watches the rest of the St. Joseph Catholic High School soccer team camp in an opponent’s half of the field and dominate.
He’s rarely been called into action this season but, so far, the Jayhawks have put up an improbable bagel on defense heading into Saturday’s quarterfinals of the 2A state tournament.
“I think it’s the work of the whole back, you know. From my hard work, off the hard work of our centerbacks, our right back, left back, our holding (midfielders), they just work very hard in the game to take ball back every time, so that helps a lot for us to have the shutouts,” Andrade said.
Wednesday’s 15-0 win over No. 17 Freedom Prep in the 2A second round, which ended via the eight-goal mercy rule after 50 minutes, saw six different players score for No. 1 St. Joseph (11-0).
Daniel Fontes scored five goals, Carlos Garcia scored four and Ricky Aparicio scored three. McLean Wandrey, Tomas Paraizo and Sebastian Fiederer each scored one goal.
The win ran the team’s season scoring total to 82, but perhaps more eye-opening is the number of goals it has allowed in 11 games: zero.
Last season, St. Joseph gave up 10 goals in 18 games. Two years ago, it was eight goals in 14 games. Weber High’s unbeaten state-title team in 2021 gave up three goals that season, which is the current state record.
Allowing zero goals in 11 games is what those in the soccer community would call “watertight.”
“As we have a pretty solid line of four in defense, I don’t get a lot of shots, but I’m always ready to — like one ball the whole game, or some games I get more, like Morgan, like Rowland Hall, but I’m always ready,” Andrade said.
“I hate allowing any goal, I don’t like people to score on me.”
One part of the 11-0 record and 82-0 goalscoring margin is that the Jayhawks are very good on their own.
Sandwiched between their third straight region championship is a 1-0, non-region win over Morgan, the No. 4 seed in the 3A playoffs.
St. Joseph also adopted the Layton Christian method this year in boys soccer: nine Jayhawks players hail from Brazil.
The other part of St. Joseph’s success this year, and other years, has to do with how top-heavy 2A boys soccer generally is every year.
Rowland Hall, Waterford and more recently, St. Joseph and Maeser Prep, are realistically the only ones in the running for a 2A boys soccer title year after year. The gap between the top and everyone else is massive.
It’s in that top handful where St. Joseph finds itself this season, thanks in part to its zero-goal defense.
It’ll host a state quarterfinal game at 1 p.m. Saturday against either Parowan or Wasatch Academy. If it wins that game, it would go to the state semifinals, scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 10, at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman.
The Jayhawks went to last year’s title game and lost 2-0 to Rowland Hall, a team they might see in this year’s semis.
“I feel that this year we are more prepared psychologically, so it’s all about mental, the mental part right now,” St. Joseph coach Paulo Franco said.
Connect with reporter Patrick Carr via email at email@example.com, Twitter @patrickcarr_ and Instagram @standardexaminersports.