It was a tale of two games for the East Central College soccer Falcons.
East Central split games, losing Friday in overtime against Johnson County (Kan.) Community College, 3-2, but coming back to shut out North Iowa Area Sunday, 2-0.
“We are now 2-1 on the young season and get ready to go play Lindenwood-Belleville on Tuesday,” East Central Head Coach Benji Grimes said. “The players seemed like they got over their game against Johnson County. We really didn’t feel any threat from North Iowa during the match as we kept them at bay for almost the entire game. We still need more efficiency going to goal if we can find the right player rotation for that this team will compete with any team at this level.”
The Falcons return to action Tuesday, visiting the Lindenwood-Belleville JV team at 7 p.m.
The Falcons host Lincoln Land Wednesday at noon.
North Iowa Area
In the home opener Sunday afternoon, the Falcons were able to control the majority of play, but needed a full half to solve the North Iowa defense.
“They had a large compliment of international players,” Grimes said. “We came out firing on all fronts. Controlling the tempo and possession, we created four great chances early but we failed to finish the chances.”
Gabriel Pires (Centro Educacional Charles Darwin, Vitorio, Brazil) netted the game’s first goal a minute into the second half to break the scoreless tie. Leonard Sowa (Rudolf-Virchow-Oberschule, Berlin, Germany) assisted on the goal.
“We came back out, switched some players around and found the right combination,” Grimes said. “Billy Thompson has been patient all season so far he finally got the nod to go up top and he didn’t disappoint. He played a great one touch ball into the path of Leo Sowa and Leo read it to perfection and broke in past the defense and baited the keeper to come off his line and he passed it off to Gabriel who finished it into the open net to open the scoring.”
The Falcons added an insurance goal around the hour mark. Thompson (The City School, Sheffield, England) scored after taking a long pass from goalkeeper Lewis Brass (Cardinal Hume, Tyne & Wear, England) to double the lead.
Brass made six saves in goal to record the shutout.
“Several minutes later, we caught their team on the break they were pushing for the equalizer and Lewis Brass intercepted a ball into the box and volleyed the ball deep into their half where Billy Thompson made a great run. He got a touch to the ball before their goalkeeper could get to it and shot it into an open net. And that is one of the big dangers that Lewis Brass brings to the table. Lewis assisted on the goal. Not too many keepers will get that on a stat sheet. We went up to 2-0 and the players battled with the other team back and forth for the next 20 minutes and this time sealed the win in good effort by the team.”
Things got a bit chippy as the game went along. The Falcons were handed four yellow cards in the game while North Iowa was given two.
East Central put 14 shots on goal for the game.
Friday’s road trip to Kansas was an expensive lesson for the Falcons. East Central seemed to be cruising heading into the final five minutes of the game.
“This was a horrible way to let a game go this late and being up 2-0,” Grimes said. “True, the biggest thing we can take away from this is to doing better with killing off the game.”
East Central took a 1-0 lead when Arman Kovac (Lindbergh) scored in the 65th minute on an assist from Sowa.
The Falcons made it 2-0 in the 77th minute when Pires scored on an assist by Sowa.
“Leonard Sowa had a great game assisting both efforts after blowing past several defenders on two runs to goal from the middle of the park and making the final pass to get both goals,” Grimes said. “He is really a fantastic midfielder.”
Grimes said the Falcons had other chances to score, but didn’t take advantage.
“We need to focus more on quality finishing when we crest quality chances,” Grimes said. “We had 15 attempts and only converted two goals. We could have killed off the game but we didn’t and it cost us.”
Johnson County pressured and broke the shutout in the 85th minute with Sung Min Cho netting the goal. Eduardo Goulart assisted.
The Cavaliers tied it in the 89th minute when Eloy Flores scored on a penalty kick.
“We played well for most of the game and we lost the game after being up 2-0 until the 85th minute,” Grimes said. “The players lost control of their focus and Johnson County tied it after a penalty kick conversion in the 89th minute.”
Johnson County continued to take advantage of the momentum change in overtime and Flores netted his second of the game a minute into the extra session for the winner.
East Central took 15 shots for the game. Brass made six saves in net for the Falcons.