Bobcats stun sixth-ranked rivals
Chris Fuchsen and Chad Zmolek couldn’t remember the last time the Ames-Marshalltown rivalry tipped in favor of the Bobcats.
Rest assured neither coach will forget the 2014 showdown.
Rebounding a deflection off an indirect kick by David Gomez, Tony Ordaz Zambrano scored the winning goal in the 35th minute as the Class 3A No. 14 Marshalltown boys soccer team upset No. 6 Ames, 2-1, in a Central Iowa Conference Northern Division contest at Leonard Cole Field Thursday.
The play was set up by an obstruction call whistled against Little Cyclones goalkeeper Chris Halbur, leaving the ball just a few yards outside the penalty box.
Gomez lifted the ball toward the far post and after an initial shot was knocked down by the Ames defense, Zambrano got his foot on the putback.
“I saw the goalie wasn’t covering his post so I just got it to the second post and I knew somebody was going to get there,” said Gomez, who also assisted on the Bobcats’ first goal with a long through ball to Oswaldo Rodriguez in the 20th.
Both coaches came to a similar conclusion on the controversial obstruction call, though they also agreed it wasn’t the determining factor in the match.
“I didn’t see it (the obstruction), to be fair to Ames, but it is what is. The referees made a call and you have to put up with it,” MHS coach Chris Fuchsen said. “That was just a grit game with both teams going for it. The football was sloppy but early in the season you just like to see the kids battle. Bottom line, the boys just battled tonight.”
The Bobcats (2-0, 1-0) needed a bit of a wake up call first and it came in the form of Lence Tomas’ right-footed blast at the 7-minute mark to put Marshalltown in a quick 1-0 hole.
“The start was lackadaisical,” Fuchsen said. “And the boys knew it and turned it around. It was almost an eye-opener.”
Marshalltown earned Ames’ full attention by responding with two goals before the break.
Rodriguez streaked through the midfield and reeled in Gomez’s long through ball for the equalizer before Zambrano put the Bobcats on top 15 minutes later – following the obstruction call against Ames (3-1, 0-1).
While Halbur, his teammates and the Ames’ fans were in disbelief of the ruling, Zmolek’s squad still had another 45 minutes to respond.
“It wasn’t the game-changer but when they put it in you’ve got to work a different style because it lets the other team play a little safer,” Zmolek said of the Bobcats’ second goal.
“It changes a bit of the dynamics but it’s a good lesson, you have to learn to fight back and play from behind. Credit to Marshalltown, they did a good job and stayed with it. They didn’t let down.”
After Ames earned all eight of the foul calls in the first half, Marshalltown was whistled for all seven in the second as the Little Cyclones had three scoring threats compromised by offside calls in the match.
Kreighton Miller picked up his second win in goal with five saves, while Zmolek had three stops for Ames with another coming from his defense.
Fuchsen sent Martin Chavarria toward the front in the second half and credited Able Chavarria in holding down the defense in his absence.
“(Abel) came in off the bench and filled that hole brilliantly,” Fuchsen said. “He was the pitbull I call it, a guy who just goes all out and gets stuck in on all the challenges.”
That mentality carried over for the rest of the Bobcat unit, which avenged its second loss from last season in their first week of competition after topping Urbandale on Monday.
“The foundation I set with the boys first is the attitude,” Fuchsen said. “You’ve got to build a foundation behind the attitude to show up every day and commit to working hard. After the first goal they came alive and started battling. This game is too fast and too complex, if you don’t have that attitude, that desire to battle and get stuck in, you don’t have a chance at this level.”
The Bobcats head to the Hudson Tournament for at least three games Saturday. Marshalltown faces Garner-Hayfield/Ventura at 9:15 a.m., Independence at 11:45 a.m. and Class 2A No. 15 Webster City at 2:15 p.m. with the chance to play in a championship or consolation match at 4 p.m.
Ames had won every meeting against the Bobcats since at least 2005. The Little Cyclones had previously defeated Class 3A No. 15 Des Moines Lincoln and No. 16 Cedar Rapids Prairie.