On a night that initially seemed like Muscatine High School’s No. 11 Class 3A boys’ soccer team just couldn’t do it, the Muskies prevailed and eventually defeated the Davenport North Wildcats 2-1.
Undeterred, the Muskies (11-3, 8-0 MAC) rebounded from a scoreless first half to go unbeaten in the Mississippi Athletic Conference game with a goal win over the Wildcats (9-6, 3-4 MAC). stay. at the Muscatine Soccer Complex on Monday night.
Muscatine’s Ty Cozad scored the first goal of the game in the 59th minute. Then Brian Pineda added another in the 74th.
North found a quick answer on the Pineda score when the Wildcats drew a Muscatine foul in the zone because a Chase Green penalty converted to halve the lead.
“It’s always difficult to face North. They’re a good team,” said Muscatine head coach Jose Varela. “The first half didn’t work for us… But we did better in the second half.”
Both of Muscatine’s (11-3, 8-0 MAC) goals came from long-range.
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After a throw-in from the left touchline just down the Muskies’ attacking side in midfield, Orlando Lopez passed to Cozad, who landed on the left wing with his back to goal at the top of the box. He turned inside, took a couple of dribbles to break away from the defender and fired a high, circling shot over North (9-6, 3-4 MAC) goaltender Ian Padron.
“It was prayer,” said Cozad. “I’m glad it went in, but that’s happened about one time in ten. I just wanted to put the ball on the frame. I saw the keeper jump and thought he might go in.
“That’s exactly what we needed in a game like this: outside shots that challenge the goalkeeper. We had to improvise a bit.”
Pineda’s shot came from across the field and from the top of the box. Pineda’s laser shot sent Padron, who was moving left, back against his momentum and was unable to get his hands on the shot.
“The two shots that came in were fantastic,” said Varela. “Especially Pineda’s shot. That was incredible. When he went in I said to him, ‘Take that shot in the box’ because our wingers stayed out too long and we had to adjust to the wind and things like that, so I said, ‘Just go in the box and see if something is going our way.’”
It was a tough win for the Muskies, who went 0-0 up another shot (6-5) in the first half but conceded two of the better scoring chances up to that point.
Twice Peter Phan looked good.
The first was a header from a north cross that hit just the far post. On the second, Phan attempted to cross Muskie goalkeeper Logan Wolf but the shot rolled wide of the target. Wolf made six saves for the Muskies, most of them in the first 40 minutes of the game.
But Muscatine also had its chances.
“We usually put away the shots that we missed,” said senior midfielder Grant Bode. “I guess it evened out tonight.”
The Muskies had a clear possession advantage throughout the competition. Muscatine’s best first-half chances came when he kept the ball in front of the Wildcats’ net for a long time, but shots from close range, far and high missed or were otherwise smothered by Padron, who made 11 saves.
“We talked (at halftime) about moving the ball faster,” said Cozad, a sophomore forward whose goal was his 10th of the season, a team high. “We felt like we could move the ball well in the first half. We just couldn’t find any free space. We just put the ball into the net in the second half when it was necessary. Lucky or not, they were beautiful shots.”
Even as time passed, the Muskies felt that if they continued to force the north backline to flex, it would eventually break and allow for a score.
“Our coach always tells us good teams beat teams they should beat,” said Bode. “And I think tonight was an example of that. We should have won, we fought our way through and we did it.”
Padron played well in goal, even stopping a Muscatine penalty that would have put the Muskies 2-0 up with less than 20 minutes to go. But the Muskies ended up counting 20 shots to North’s eight.
“We definitely knew in the first half that we had a few shots out there,” said Bode. “We missed some chances that we knew we should have had. But we were lucky enough to thwart those shots in the second half.
“We knew that (goals) would come eventually.”
It was a lively game, with almost 30 rule violations in total, while the Muskies conceded four yellow cards.
“There is no rhythm when I have guys who have to go out because of yellow cards,” Varela said.
Pleasant Valley also won Monday night, remaining the only other team aside from Muscatine to go undefeated in the MAC game. PV defeated Davenport West. Muscatine plays Monday, May 16th at PV.
Muscatine’s next game is Friday when it hosts a non-conference game against 1A No. 11 Iowa City Regina. This game will be the nightcap of a girls/boys doubleheader where both teams will celebrate their A grades. For the boys, that includes Miles Melendez, who has returned from a knee injury that forced him to miss three games.
“We’re obviously happy with where we are,” said Cozad. “Hopefully we can hang a banner.”
Muscatine 2, Davenport North 1
Halftime – Muscatine 0, North 0. Goals – Orlando Lopez’s Ty Cozad (Mus) 59min; Brian Pineda (Mus) without support 74 minutes; Chase Green (DN) without support in the 75th minute. Recordings – MUS 18; DN 8. Saves – MUS (Logan Wolf 6); DN (Ian Padron 11). Offside – MUS 1, DN 1. Corners – MUS 11; DN 9. Fouls – MUS 15; DN 14. Cards — MUS Drake Grey; MUS Grant Bode; MUS Jonathon Joseph; MUS Scout Schmelzer.
Records: Nutmeg 12-3, 8-0 MAC; Davenport North 9-6, 3-4 MAC
JV: Muscatine 3, Davenport North 1