MARSHALL - Opening the season at home against Section 2A foe St. Peter, the Marshall soccer team showed some promise with an aggressive offense in the second half.
But it was the first half that dictated Saturday's season opener, with the Saints jumping to a 2-0 lead through 40 minutes, eventually winning the game, 3-0, at Mattke Field.
"They're a big, fast, physical team," Marshall first-year head coach Pat Johnson said of St. Peter. "They're very mature, they got a lot of seniors, and they're a good squad. We ran up against one of the better teams in our section (Saturday)."
Photo by Joe Brown
Marshall senior Trevor Johnson (7) holds off St. Peter’s Sam Bennett for the ball during the first half of Saturday’s non-conference soccer match at Mattke Field.
Despite the wind blowing north, favoring the Saints in the first half, the Tigers attacked early, keeping play on their end of the field for the first five minutes. But once St. Peter got rolling in the first half, Marshall was left reeling.
In the 21st minute, Zeke Kyoore emerged from a scramble in front of the net, pounding the ball past Tigers' goalkeeper Sathira Wijesekars for a 1-0 advantage for the Saints.
Eight minutes later, St. Peter went up 2-0 on what was credited as an own goal.
"We knew we were going to have the wind as a factor, and sure enough it was," Johnson said. "But it wasn't the wind so much that caused those goals, but the defensive breakdowns. We had some misunderstandings on position and we left the middle open and that's what ended up hurting us. Our goalie didn't have much of a chance on the goals."
When the two teams swapped sides in the second half, Marshall was able to get some sustained time in the offensive zone. Unfortunately for the Tigers, it did not translate into any goals.
"We had plenty of scoring chances. We had three easy ones we should have poked in to make it a tied game," Johnson said. "We had plenty of corner kicks, we just need to put one home."
In the 63rd minute, St. Peter's Abdifatah Bashir was the benefactor of a 2-on-1 breakaway, burying the ball into the back of the net to go up 3-0.
Although his team came up short in his varsity coaching debut, Johnson saw some positive signs for the Tigers as they move forward. Marshall looks to get in the win column on Tuesday in a road game against Willmar.
"Our kids put up a good effort," Johnson said. "Sathira played well. The defense played well most of the way. We just didn't have it. They put away the ones they should have and we didn't.
"We'll bounce back. I don't think the kids were expecting this physical a game."