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Boys soccer: Trojans start slow, beat Southwest Christian

Southwest Christian Eagles goalie Hunter Vander Haar (1) dives to block a scoring attempt from the Trojans Thursday night. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)1 / 2
Worthington Trojans boys soccer player Jon Keodouangsy (10) attempts a shot as Southwest Christian's Shane Van Essen (16) and Isaac Jasper 20 try to block. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)2 / 2

By AARON HAGEN

The Globe

WORTHINGTON -- Home games are supposed to be an advantage to the team playing on its own field.

That hasn’t been the case for the Worthington boys soccer team this season, which had another slow start in Thursday’s game against Southwest Christian.

WHS overcame that sluggish first half with a 3-0 victory to improve to 5-0 this season.

“I think it’s just a home game,” Trojan Eh Kyoo said. “It happened against Waseca. In the away game, we did so much better and played like we’re supposed to. The first half here, we didn’t speak as much, but in the second half we did a lot more talking and communicating.”

The Trojans couldn’t find their offense in the first half as it took them nearly 10 minutes to get their first shot on goal.

“The first half was slow for us. We picked it up in the second half, we fixed our mistakes. We were playing too slow, we had no pressure and we fixed that,” WHS head coach Juan Flores said. “We talked about our mistakes and passing the ball, controlling the ball and playing our game and not playing the other team’s game.”

But for much of the first half, neither team was able to find the net.

“It’s hard, but you have to keep pushing through and let everybody know we still have it,” WHS goalie Ben Lopez said. “When it’s 0-0, it’s anybody’s game. We have to keep it up, keep the pressure up, keep the intensity up, keep the passes going and keep the defense solid.”

Anthony Euceda scored the half’s lone goal in the 36th minute on a penalty kick.

“That’s when you know we have the momentum, everybody breathed for a bit and now we can just have fun and play soccer,” Lopez said of the first goal.

At halftime, Flores talked to his team about communication.

“The first half we didn’t do very good. But the second half, I think we did much better. We played like we’re supposed to play in the second half,” Kyoo said. “We pressured a lot, so I think that’s what makes a difference, too. We were making runs. When we see an open spot, we run for it.”

It paid off as Jon Keodouangsy scored early in the second half. A few minutes later, Kyoo found the net after the SWC goalie initially stopped a Keodouangsy shot, giving WHS a 3-0 lead.

That was more than enough for Lopez as the Trojans had their third shutout this season.

“It feels great, just to have a clean sheet, it means we were working hard as a team,” Lopez said. “My coach and my teammates have been helping me by training me and giving me good shots in practice and helping me get better with dives and pressuring and talking to them, letting them know what’s happening.”

Worthington hosts Mankato Loyola on Saturday, where it will hope to prevent another slow start at home.

“We just need to get hyped,” Kyoo said.

Southwest Christian 0 0 -- 0Worthington 1 2 -- 3