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Boys soccer: Trojans dominate second half, beat New Ulm

DOUG WOLTER/DAILY GLOBE As teammate Randy Lopez (11) watches, Worthington’s Victor Meza (9) challenges New Ulm’s Joshua Koelpin (6) in Thursday’s section boys soccer match at Trojan Field.

WORTHINGTON —Andrew Johnson was told to attempt more shots.

So on Thursday night, he did, thank goodness.

Barely a minute had elapsed in the second half when Johnson, a junior midfielder, launched the first of his two goals. His last one, with 11:03 remaining in the half, doubled his output of the season.

“The coaches wanted me to take more shots, and so I thought I had to,” Johnson said after the game. “And it worked out.”

The Trojans, who trailed the Eagles 2-0 at halftime, outscored New Ulm 4-0 the rest of the way en route to a 4-2 victory and a date with top-seeded Mankato West in the quarterfinals of the Section 2A boys soccer tournament. Fourth-seeded Worthington, after beating No. 13 Mankato Loyola 1-0 Monday in a somewhat uninspiring performance, dominated the last 40 minutes against the fifth-seeded Eagles Thursday and will go on the road Tuesday to play West, a 10-0 winner Thursday over Hutchinson

Thursday was a tale of two halves, indeed. In the first, New Ulm grabbed the initiative and held it, opening the scoring on a Christian Linan shot (with an assist from Nicolas Gartner) about 16 minutes into the game. With 6:34 remaining until half, teammate Timothy Plocher’s shot made the score 2-0. Worthington, though quicker than the Eagles, were not making the crisp connecting passes necessary to mount an effective offense. Though they attempted almost as many shots as the visitors, the Trojans’ kicks were more often from long range.

The second half was a different story throughout. Better passing and better communication characterized the Trojans’ play, and their communication was greatly improved.

They also showed off some impressive goal-scoring.

Johnson’s first goal was a sharpshooter shot 25 yards away from the net from the right side. It sailed beautifully beyond the outstretched hands of the New Ulm goalie untouched into the upper left corner.

Worthington’s second goal came at the 31:55 and it was from senior Victor Meza. It was on a free kick following a tripping penalty called on the Eagles, and Meza made it look easy —ripping it with room to spare on the right side of the net.

At 21:45 the Trojans’ Jesus Ordaz got into the act, sailing one in from long range — about 27 yards away in the middle of the field —during a momentary lull in the Eagle defenses. Ordaz didn’t take the time to play with his shot before taking it. He simply made a quick spin move to get in front and he blistered the ball high and with a seeing-eye downward arch into the left of the net.

Ordaz’s shot put Worthington ahead 3-2. About 10 minutes later Johnson got his second goal on a loose pass from about 10 yards out.

Afterward, WHS head coach Smitty Ektnitphong shook his head at the difference in the two halves.

“I believe they’re too intense — too intense in themselves,” he said of his players, judging the first 40 minutes. “I think the difference is they’re more relaxed in the second half.”

Communicating, protecting the ball, and creating opportunities and finishing them were the keys to victory, Ektnitphong said.

But he had one more word of warning: “For the next round, whoever we meet, one half is not going to cut it.”

New Ulm 2 0 — 2

Worthington 0 4 — 4

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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