PREP BOYS' SOCCER: Worthington grounds Bluejays, 3-2WORTHINGTON — Hugo Monterroso wasn’t even trying to shoot the ball. However, that didn’t make a difference as his kick sailed in for the game-winning goal in the Worthington boys’ soccer team’s 3-2 victory against Central Minnesota Christian on Thursday night.
WORTHINGTON — Hugo Monterroso wasn’t even trying to shoot the ball.
However, that didn’t make a difference as his kick sailed in for the game-winning goal in the Worthington boys’ soccer team’s 3-2 victory against Central Minnesota Christian on Thursday night.
The Trojans fell two goals down after just less than six minutes had been played in the game, but completed a come-from-behind victory with a pair of goals by Omot Okello and Monterroso’s decider.
“It felt good,” Monterroso said of pulling off the comeback. “The team was working hard and we knew we had this game.”
WHS — who was fielding a slightly altered lineup for the contest — was immediately put on the back foot when the Bluejays scored 3:18 into the game.
CMC set up the goal with a long throw-in deep into Worthington’s side of the field, which went straight to the head of Nathaniel Gerdes. Gerdes’ header was saved, but he managed to put the ball in the net on the rebound.
The Bluejays scored just more than two minutes later in almost the same fashion, with a long throw-in by Tyler Daugherty from the right-hand sideline again finding Gerdes. Gerdes’ shot was deflected away, but Nathan Ryder was in the right spot to put the finishing touch on the goal to give his team an early 2-0 lead.
“Some of the guys were probably surprised by the two goals early right away,” WHS head coach Vilath Lovan said. “I was surprised too when they scored two goals right away. But I still didn’t worry about it.”
Worthington then took control of the game and didn’t relinquish it the rest of the way.
The Trojans had strong shots by Kpaw Moo, Luis Armando Echeverria and Omot Okello midway through the half, but all three were deflected out of bounds for corner kicks.
Tony Godinez came close to scoring with 2:03 remaining in the half, but had his shot ring off of the right-hand goalpost.
However, just as it appeared WHS would take a two-goal deficit into halftime, Okello unleashed a shot from 20 yards out with 13 seconds left in the half that started off too high but dipped just beneath the cross bar to make the score 2-1.
The Trojans used their momentum to create a number of scoring opportunities early in the second half — including an Okello free kick off the crossbar six minutes into the half — and finally broke through with an equalizer at the 52:47 mark, with Echeverria striking a beautiful corner kick from the right side straight to the head of Okello, whose header deflected off of a defender and into the net.
Echeverria was playing more of an attacking role in the game after previously anchoring the team’s defense, part of Lovan’s game plan to mix things up to make things fun for his players, including giving playing time to team members that hadn’t seen much time in previous games.
“Wherever you put him, he’s an overall position player,” Lovan said of Echeverria. “You can put him anywhere. I just wanted him to have fun — he’s been a star for the defense for five or six games already, I wanted to get him a chance to have fun.”
Monterroso’s goal came less than two minutes later, as he took the ball down the left sideline and lunged at the ball to send a cross to the center, only to see his cross fly over CMC goalkeeper Zach Zwart and into the right-side of the net.
“I just tried to pass it and it went in,” Monterroso said. “It felt good, I just did it for the team.”
The Trojans had the bulk of the remaining scoring opportunities in the game — including a shot from Mu Lar Taw from a tight angle with 5:46 remaining that glanced off of the crossbar — to bring the game to an end without much of a dramatic finish.
The victory returned Worthington (6-2) to its winning ways after a two match losing streak.
“I’m happy about it,” Monterroso said of ending the streak. “We’ll just keep working hard for the next games, we’ll keep going hard at it.
“The team has to keep working hard at it and hopefully we’ll go to state.”
The Trojans will have a week off before playing at Marshall on Thursday.
WHS won 5-2 against the Tigers in their first matchup between the two teams, but Lovan knows his team will have to capitalize on its goal scoring chances or it could become a very tough contest.
“I expect that to be a good game too,” Lovan said. “They really like to play physical. If we don’t put the ball in the net when we have a chance, it’s going to make the game a lot harder.”
Central MN 2 0 — 2
Worthington 1 2 — 3