Tigers thwart surprising Scott CC, 2-1

Already behind a step in the race for the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference title, the Marshalltown CC men’s soccer squad found itself looking up at the visiting underdogs less than 2 minutes into Saturday’s match.

The wake-up call received, Marshalltown dominated the remainder of the contest and turned away the Scott Eagles, 2-0, for its first conference victory.

John Krause bounced an Alex Galvan crossing pass off the inside of the far post for the equalizer 30 minutes after Scott Community College’s stunning tally, and Juan Carillo converted a penalty kick in the 78th minute to give the Tigers a satisfying 2-1 triumph.

It was a welcomed change for MCC (5-2-1, 1-1-0) coming off a 3-0 setback at the hands of No. 4-ranked Iowa Western in Wednesday’s ICCAC opener.

“We learned that as a team we perform very well. As 11 individuals playing with the same jerseys, we don’t,” MCC coach Rafael Martinez said of the Iowa Western loss. “We needed to perform as a team, and I thought we did that today.

“I thought we had two mistakes, clear mistakes on defense. Scott took advantage of one and the other one, Julian (Pena) made a great save. Besides that I thought we played very well together and helped each other when we had to.”

Both of MCC’s defensive communication mishaps led to point-blank shots on goal for the Eagles’ lone forward, Ryan Drechsler. The first, just 1:24 into the match, resulted in a slick side-step around Pena and an easy goal for Scott CC. The second, only minutes later, saw Pena swat the speedy Drechsler’s shot off-line.

“That was just basically a wake-up call for us to maintain our concentration and improve our communication,” said Martinez. “That’s something we can always improve on is to make sure we communicate well on the field. Sometimes it’s good to have those mistakes to know the next time how to fix them, and luckily we got the win so we can look at that mistake as a way to learn.

“Otherwise we would have looked at this mistake as a very sad situation for us. Luckily we came back and hopefully we learn from it.”

Surprised but not shellshocked, Marshalltown kept its composure and peppered Eagles goalkeeper Mitch Schneider with shots throughout the first half. Schneider withstood nine of the 10 shots on goal in the first 45 minutes, but Galvan’s connection with Krause was one too many for the Eagles’ netminder.

The pass found Krause in step, and his hard right-footed shot bounded off the inside of the far post and into the opposite side of the net. The goal came at 31:27 and was one of numerous quality scoring chances for the Tigers.

MCC logged a season-high 15 corner kicks in the contest, 10 of them in the second half when the wind was at the Tigers’ back. Still, none of what Marshalltown threw at the Eagles stuck until a handball was called in Scott’s goal area in the 77th minute.

Carillo took full advantage, finding the right side of the net past Schneider for his team-leading fifth goal and the go-ahead score MCC had been longing for.

Carillo and Hernan Lopez both registered a match-high four shots on goal, but some of Marshalltown’s best scoring chances in the second half came with Lopez out of the lineup. None of the corner kick sets secured goals, so Martinez made a handful of changes in positioning his players at the intermission.

Marcus Boehler moved up along the left flank and Krause stayed wide to the right, as the Tigers tried to make more room in the middle for its deft strikers. The goals didn’t come as hoped, but the opportunities to score did, and finally a whistle put MCC in position to notch the go-ahead goal. A centering pass from Roberto Velazquez glanced off the extended arm of Scott defender Cruz Sandoval, yielding the penalty kick for Carillo to cash in.

“We took defenders out because we didn’t need the defenders, they had one forward they were trying to get the ball to and we knew that,” Martinez said. “We tried to create space in the middle so we would be able to attack them better instead of just sending the long ball foward. I thought we did well, we obviously had a lot of chances.”

MCC finished with 19 shots on goal while the visiting Eagles (2-5-0, 1-1-0) ended with only three. Jose Gomez provided a second-half spark for the Tigers in front of the net in what was a more dominant performance for MCC than the final score showed.

“Hopefully the goals that we didn’t score today, the next time we’ll put them in,” Martinez said, “but I can’t complain. It was a good performance. I’m happy with my team, it doesn’t matter we won 2-1, I still think we did what we were supposed to do.”

Marshalltown is back on its home pitch on Tuesday afternoon, hosting Iowa Lakes (2-2, 0-1) in a 4 p.m. contest. The Lakers lost 1-0 to Scott on Wednesday, though Martinez holds no illusions about what the scores on paper might indicate.

“We expect another tough game and hopefully everybody is going to be ready for that game.”