WORTHINGTON — Menkem Mehri knew Tuesday’s game was one that slipped away.
“I know we should have won that,” said the sophomore of Worthington’s boys soccer team. “We just need to finish and work on our finishing. We had a lot of opportunities to score — just need to put it in the net.”
It wasn’t a lack of opportunities for Worthington, it was just a lack of finishing. Despite a large number of shots, the Trojans managed just one goal in a 1-1 tie with Fairmont.
“I just feel like the communication is not working,” Mehri said. “Or if a winger is right here, there’s nobody pressuring in the middle or they are all waiting for it to come to their feet. But we’re doing good with passing and dribbling and our pressuring. Everything is good except our finishing. That’s what we need to work on.”
WHS (3-2-2) was coming off a 1-0 loss to Waseca on Monday.
“We just talked about that, like I told the kids, the kids had their heads down and were down on themselves and I said, ‘We’re not a bad team,’” WHS head coach Juan Flores said. “I think we need to put the all the pieces of the puzzle together. Once we get those pieces together, we’re going to be a really, really good team.”
The two teams played 90 minutes on Tuesday, and all the scoring came within a period of less than three minutes.
“Like I told the kids, we have the passing, we have the pressuring, we have the defense, we have the midfield, we have the strikers,” Flores said. “We have the players to do what we want to do and play how we want to play, but it’s just that small piece of finishing and putting the ball in the back of the net that we’re missing. It’s a big piece obviously, because you need to score to win games.”
In the first half, the Trojans appeared to have the upper hand, as they outshot Fairmont 15-2. However, each time, Cardinal keeper Tyson Geerdes made the saves.
“We knew looking at their roster they had a lot of seniors and a lot of experience,” Flores said. “I knew it was going to be a hard-fought game. I thought we deserved to win and we deserved more, but it’s like I said before, it’s not about deserving, it’s about earning. We have to earn all the victories and all the wins.”
Early in the second half, the Trojans broke through. Guadalupe Padilla took a corner and played it to the front post. Mehri was there to score his first career varsity goal.
“That was incredible,” Mehri said. “I really wanted to score today. I wanted to make my parents happy because they don’t usually come here. I just wanted to win for the team — this is like my family here.”
But two minutes, 14 seconds later, Cole Christopher scored on a header for the Cardinals to tie the game.
Worthington finished with 25 shots on goal, including a few good chances late in regulation. FHS had six shots.
“We have to keep pressuring,” Mehri said. “If we get one goal, we are waiting for everything to happen. We have to take advantage. We had 25 shots on goal, we just have to work together as a team.”