First-half goals help move Marshall past Jordan 4-0 in Section 2A opener
MARSHALL — The Marshall boys soccer team entered Monday’s Section 2A tournament with a little momentum after earning back-to-back victories against Mankato Loyola and St. Peter. Looking to keep things rolling, fifth-seeded Marshall used a red-hot start against No. 12 seed Jordan, scoring three first-half goals en route to a 4-0 victory at Mattke Field on the campus of Southwest Minnesota State University.
“Everybody played well and we came in with a lot of chemistry from the last game,” Marshall coach Roberto Esparza said. “We told them, ‘We have to keep going’. We’re ready to go all the way.”
“We have 15 seniors and they all want to win it; it doesn’t matter what we’re seeded, we just want to show that we belong here and we want to get to the final and prove that we can be the best of the best,” Eli Salisbury added. “With 15 seniors, we’ve got to win it all, we’re losing too much if we don’t win.”
Marshall raced out of the starting gates in the first half, quickly taking control of the ball and keeping it on Jordan’s side of the field for nearly the entirety of the frame. After a few early shots on goal couldn’t find the mark, Marshall was able to capitalize just seven minutes in as Salisbury scored off of a rebound to make it 1-0.
That was just the beginning of a solid offensive half by Marshall. Multiple corner kicks led to quality chances to extend the lead before Ariel Ramon Ramos took a corner kick opportunity and curved the ball around the post and into the net to push Marshall’s lead to 2-0 with 25:18 left in the half. Marshall wasn’t done there, as it continued to attack and find the open teammate before Salisbury drilled a shot past the Jordan goalkeeper to make it 3-0 with 11 minutes remaining in the half, a margin that held until halftime.
Salisbury said their key on offense, especially in the first half, was their chemistry and ability to spread the ball around the field to help get out to a good start.
“Our chemistry was working and we passed a lot. We always study teams, so we knew how they played and we came in ready to counter it and it worked well,” Salisbury said. “We always try to get out to a good start because if we do that, it’s hard to come back for the other team.”
The second half saw a little more back-and-forth action, as both sides had some chances to score in the early minutes. Then after more chances by Marshall just missed its target, they were able to capitalize when Aung Hping found the back of the net with 6:46 left to bring it to the 4-0 final.
Marshall will face a familiar opponent in the next round, as they will take on St. Peter on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Marshall defeated the Saints 3-1 on Friday.
Going into the quarterfinals, Salisbury said their biggest takeaway will be playing a well-rounded game for both halves and putting some more focus on finishing the game strong.
“We capitalized well in the first half with good shots and passing and the defense and goalie did amazing,” Salisbury said. “I’d say we did good with our first half, we just need to work on our second-half performance and that can help us get far.”