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Boys soccer: Trojans edge visiting Waseca, 2-1

All eyes follow the ball as Trojans Victor Alvarez (22) watches his shot clip the in side post of the goal. Waseca players Brandon Lopez (21) goalie Brock Bye (30) and Gavin Johnson watch as it goes in for the first score. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)1 / 3
Worthington's Jon Keodouangsy (10) fires a shot between Waseca Bluejays defenders Bailey Schumacher (5) and Liam Aberle. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)2 / 3
Chris Cerda (3) of Worthington intercepts the ball from Waseca's Christian Arreguin. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)3 / 3

WORTHINGTON -- Victor Alvarez scored two goals, both assisted by Jon Keodouangsy, and the Worthington Trojans boys soccer team hung on for a 2-1 victory over Waseca Thursday in the team’s first home match of the season.

Jose Aguirre was also credited with an assist -- on the second goal, which gave Worthington a 2-0 lead in the first half. But the Bluejays wouldn’t wilt, and after scoring on a penalty kick with 24:05 remaining in the second half the Trojans’ lead hung by a thread.

They kept the lead, advancing to 4-0 on the season. But it wasn’t pretty, admitted coach Juan Flores. And there is still much work to do for a team that qualified for a state tournament berth in 2017.

“We struggled throughout the whole game. We couldn’t connect our passes. We were doing too much dribbling,” said the first-year head coach. “We were literally standing there waiting for the ball to get to our feet. And the ball wasn’t getting there. Waseca was reacting very well, getting good pressure.”

Keodouangsy gave his team a middling grade.

“First half I thought we did all right, but we didn’t do as well as we wanted to do. But they’re a very good opponent and we can’t always take it light,” said the senior forward. “We’re still working on it. It’s still early and we still have things we can work on, like communication, and like passing. And our teamwork is there, but not there as we planned.”

Worthington got into its offense quickly as the game began, but put no serious pressure on the Bluejays while unable to string together enough good passes. Finally, with 12:39 to go, Alvarez found the ball loose for a moment in front of the Waseca net and, from an assist by Keodouangsy, wheeled and struck it into the right corner.

Then, with 9:08 remaining until half, Keodouangsy brought the ball through the middle of the Waseca defense to the right side, making a sharp pass to the other side of the net where Alvarez waited. The senior struck it low and hard into the net.

The Trojans didn’t score in the second half, though Keodouangsy -- one of Minnesota’s top scorers last year -- had a few good chances early.

But with 24:05 left in the half, the Bluejays got to within a point on a Jacob Hulscher penalty kick directly in front of the goal. WHS goalkeeper Ricardo Rodriguez dove left, the ball was kicked down the middle, and the score became 2-1.

Worthington’s defense was sound throughout the contest, and kept Waseca (now 1-1-2) from getting the game-tying goal. For the game, Worthington out-shot the visitors 18-5.

Flores said the team will work on winning 50-50 balls, anticipating, and “just passing in general” in the coming week.

Thursday’s game being Worthington’s first game of the season in front of the home fans, Flores wondered whether his boys were pressing. Some of the players told him, he said, that they were trying to live up to their reputation. Maybe, pondered the coach, they were a little tight.

“Communication is key in everything,” Flores said. “And I don’t think I heard my guys talk enough today.”

Waseca 0 1 -- 1

Worthington 2 0 -- 2

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.

(507) 376-7328
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