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Boys soccer: Strong second half helps Trojans beat Marshall

By AARON HAGEN The Globe WORTHINGTON -- For the first 40 minutes of Monday's boys soccer game, it was like the Worthington Trojans were just waiting, feeling out the opposing team. And in the second half, Worthington found another gear. The Troja...

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Worthington High School boys soccer player Guadalupe Padilla brings the ball forward Monday night as a Marshall opponent comes in from the rear. (Aaron Hagen/The Globe)

By AARON HAGEN

The Globe

WORTHINGTON -- For the first 40 minutes of Monday’s boys soccer game, it was like the Worthington Trojans were just waiting, feeling out the opposing team.

And in the second half, Worthington found another gear.

The Trojans scored four second-half goals -- including two while being a man down -- to earn a 4-0 victory over visiting Marshall.

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“I think we did better the second half because in the first half we were kind of sloppy,” WHS defenseman Jesus Lozano said. “But we came back in the second half.”

In the first half, the Trojans outshot the Tigers 6-1, but neither team could break through.

“We were losing the ball a lot in the middle,” WHS head coach Juan Flores said. “What I told them at halftime is we can’t afford to be losing the ball in the middle, so we have to play out to the wings. So we stretched the field that way and that’s what helped us find the spaces that we needed.”

Out of the break, it was like a different team stepped out wearing the home black jerseys. One minute and 34 seconds in, Jon Keodouangsy gave the Trojans a 1-0 lead -- with an assist from Josue Mendoza.

“I think we played well, better in the second half. In the first half, they are a really good team, they pressured us really well. As soon as we get that one goal we just keep going and going and get the momentum,” said Keodouangsy, who had a hand in all four goals. “We put so much pressure on and had better passing. Since we knew what they were doing, we just got used to them and how they were.”

From there, Worthington -- which needed overtime to defeat Marshall on Sept. 20 -- picked up the pressure.

“Even myself, I was a little nervous the first half because I didn’t know how we were going to react,” Flores said. “I think the second half, we came out and after we scored that first goal, we kind of took a deep breath and said, ‘OK, here we go. We’re going to stay calm and we’re going to play our game.’”

The second goal of the night was a special one. Keodouangsy had a free kick from the 20-yard line. He sent it toward the right side of the goal, where Lozano headed it in.

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“This is the first goal I’ve ever scored for the varsity season,” Lozano said. “I feel pretty good about it. He crossed it in and I was just there at the right time.”

After a red card was issued, Worthington played the final 24:14 a man down. It didn’t make a difference.

Less than a minute later, Victor Alvarez assisted Keodouangsy on a goal to give WHS a 3-0 advantage.

“I finally scored after a couple of games,” Keodouangsy said. “It’s really exciting to get a couple assists out here helping my team. The goals don’t matter as long as we get the W in the end, that’s all that matters.”

With 10 minutes remaining, Keodouangsy had a throw in from the side. He found Eh Kyoo, who beat the Marshall defense to push the WHS lead to 4-0.

“That’s how we are, as soon as we get that first goal, we’ll start going, start attacking and playing better as a team,” Keodouangsy said. “That’s what boosts our momentum.”

Defensively, the Tigers finished with five shots on goal. Trojans Ricardo Rodriguez and Ben Lopez combined for the shutout.

“I think we played really solid in the defense today,” Lozano said. “We didn’t make that many mistakes back there.”

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Worthington improves to 13-1 overall and is playing some of its best soccer as the regular season winds down.

“It’s a great win and I’m really proud of the kids,” Flores said. “I think this is how we should be playing every game. One of the things we talked about was we have to take care of our chances early and put one away early, that way we’re a little more calm and we take control of the game. Other than the Austin game, I think that second half was one of the best second halves of the season.”

Marshall 0 0 -- 0Worthington 0 4 -- 4

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Heading into a group of Marshall defenders Monday night, Worthington's Jon Keodouangsy (10) tries to maintain possession of the ball. (Aaron Hagen/The Globe)

Related Topics: BOYS SOCCER
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