Poignant first step for MCC men
Rafael Martinez is demanding a consistently higher intensity from his team this season.
And whether it’s his starters or his reserves – the expectations are the same.
Proving there’s very little – if any – drop-off between the two, the NJCAA Division I 15th-ranked Marshalltown Community College men’s soccer team received a pair of goals from its bench in a 2-0 victory over Luther College Thursday.
Former Marshalltown Bobcat Jose Gomez tallied the go-ahead goal amongst a scrum of players in the 41st minute and Austin See added an insurance score off a direct kick from the corner in the 88th as the Tigers used a total of 17 players in their season opener.
“I told them before the game that we could not win this game with just the starting 11. We were going to need every player to do their part,” Martinez said. “It exemplifies what we’ve been talking about.
“Our depth is what’s really going to make the difference this year.”
Bunched up in the middle of the pitch at times, MCC’s offense couldn’t find a rhythm through much of the first half, before dominating possession in the second.
Fitting the first-half theme, Gomez’s goal wasn’t anything pretty but more than effective.
Soon after entering the match, the sophomore slipped between several Norse defenders before fielding a pass inside the right post from John Krause. Krause outraced a Luther defender for possession near the end line, turned back inside and found Gomez with a crossing pass.
“I trusted (John), I knew he was going to get to it,” Gomez said of the Ballard grad. “I knew if I was standing inside the first post, all I would have to do was put it in.”
The Tigers (1-0, 0-0) spread the field better in the second half and didn’t allow the Norse to mount many threats. MCC made several pushes late in the half before setting up their final score on a direct kick from the right corner. Austin See buried a right-footed volley off a pinpoint cross from Juan Carillo to put the game away.
“It was a well-placed ball and I just stayed on the far side post where no one was at and got a clean shot with my right foot,” See said. “(Luther) was a challenging opponent and a team we want to face.
“To get to nationals we have to play good teams and Luther is a good team.”
The Tigers held a 10-1 advantage in total shots and kept the visitors from firing a shot on goal as freshman Julian Pena manned all 90 minutes in the net.
“It wasn’t the most beautiful win we’ve had at this field, but first games are complicated,” said Martinez, whose squad posted a 0-2-1 mark in three preseason games.
“Everybody gets nervous and excited and sometimes the motivation is too high. Getting this win will help us in the future.”
The Tigers face the Grand View JV in a rematch of their preseason opener, which ended in a 2-2 draw in Des Moines Aug. 10.
“The first game was a bit messy with some guys trying to do too much,” Martinez said. “We have to keep the ball on the ground and have lot of mobility off the ball. We need to increase the rhythm of the game through short passes.”
The Tigers host the Vikings Sunday at 6 p.m.
Since Luther College is a Division III school, the game didn’t count for its season record. … Along with Gomez and Krause, See (a Nevada native) is another central Iowa player who had a role in the Tigers’ scoring Thursday. … It was the fourth straight win in a season opener for MCC.