Hoover hands MHS its wake-up call
The Marshalltown boys’ soccer team had allowed just three goals in its first six matches of the season and the 14th ranked Bobcats were feeling confident after a dominant performance at the Hudson Tournament last weekend.
The confidence was not affected Tuesday night, but Des Moines Hoover did end the Bobcats’ six-match win streak and handed Marshalltown its first loss of the year following a 2-0 victory at Leonard Cole Field.
The Huskies got a penalty-kick goal from Edis Mitfari in the first 10 minutes of the contest and that was all they needed after holding the Bobcats scoreless for the entire 80 minutes.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to convert on any of our opportunities,” said first-year MHS coach Chris Fuchsen. “We were able to get some shots but not any decent ones because they were playing with six clogged in the back. It was hard to expose that.
“You need a good punch to the face to wake you up. It’s definitely a positive, especially after the start we had and the weekend we had. You need that eye-opener because you need to play this type of competition to get you ready for the Valleys and the Ankenys.”
The Bobcats began the season with 2-1 victories over Urbandale and No. 6 Ames and then outscored four opponents 19-1 at the Hudson Tournament.
But Hoover (2-1) forced the Bobcats to play from behind early in the match, and they couldn’t get much offense going against a solid Hoover defense that clogged the middle of the field with six defenders.
“Every time we come up here, it’s always a battle,” said Hoover coach Matt Kennedy. “They got guys that can play. They have, like I have, an international squad that is very passionate about soccer. They play hard and they want to win every ball.
“We were fortunate to get two goals and were fortunate to beat a good team.”
Mitfari’s penalty kick occurred after Isaac Moore was tackled in the box. Fuchsen said his squad made the wrong decision defensively and it cost them an early tally.
“We just didn’t play the ball out of pressure. We played the ball in, and they won the ball and beat us with the counter,” said Fuchsen. “It was just a mental error. It was a classic matchup between two different styles, and it came up cherries for them.”
Kreighton Miller had several key saves to keep the Bobcats (6-1) in the match. He poked a Hoover shot away in the first minute of the match, and a second try by the Huskies hit off the left post. Miller saved five shots in the first half, but Hoover scored an insurance goal with 10 minutes to play.
Foreign exchange student Yu Min Cheon got loose in front of the net and put the ball past Miller. Cheon was set up nicely by Haris Mitfari on the play.
“It’s big because if we don’t make it, the momentum shifts to them,” said Kennedy of the early goal. “Then we got that insurance goal at the end, and that was key. That took the wind out of them for a bit, but they fought until the end.”
Ago Zilik scored the win in net for the Huskies. He stopped two shots in the first half and then turned away three more in the second stanza. Ellis Buchwald, who leads the Bobcats with five goals on the season, couldn’t convert on a pass into traffic just in front of the net with 29 minutes, and Marshalltown also had another good opportunity five minutes later but couldn’t cash in.
Buchwald, Martin Chavarria and David Gomez entered the match with a combined 13 goals but none of them had a good, clean look at the goal. That was definitely part of Hoover’s gameplan.
“They got a couple of chances but fortunately for us, we kept the ball out of the dangerous people’s hands and forced them to take shots from distance that really weren’t that effective,” said Kennedy. “The shots that were on goal were stopped nicely by my keeper.”
The match featured five yellow cards and a brief encounter between Marshalltown’s Oswaldo Rodriguez and Hernan Martinez that resulted in two yellow cards. Twenty fouls were called on the night. Moore came into the match having scored two goals in the Huskies’ first two matches. He will play collegiately at Marshalltown Community College. The Tigers also are actively recruiting both Edis and Haris Mitfari, while Jeremy Ziaty visited campus but is likely headed to Iowa Western, the Tigers’ biggest ICCAC rival. Hoover has only allowed one goal in its first three matches of the season. That came in a 1-0 loss to Waukee in the season opener.