St. Peter, Minn. – Sophomore striker Zach Brown (Eau Claire, Wis.) was once again the hero in what was a déjà vu type win for the Gustavus men’s soccer team on Saturday afternoon at the Gustie Soccer Field. For the second straight year, Brown scored the game-winning goal in overtime to allow Gustavus the 2-1 victory over Saint John’s.
Brown, who scored the opening goal and the overtime game-winner in last season’s 2-1 victory over the Johnnies, was responsible for tying the match at 1-1 after Saint John’s grabbed a first half lead.
Gustavus moves into sole control of first place in the conference with an overall record of 6-1-1 and an MIAC mark of 2-0-1. Saint John’s is now 3-3-2 overall and 1-1-0 in the MIAC with the loss.
“Great win for the lads today. Perhaps not our best performance, but we showed great fortitude to come back from a goal down,” said Head Coach Mike Middleton.
Although Gustavus controlled possession through much of the opening half, it was Saint John’s taking the early advantage on a goal by Ian Scudder in the 39th minute. Of Gustavus’ six goals allowed this season, three have come before halftime. The Gusties are now 2-1-1 when their opponents score first.
The two squads headed for the locker rooms with Saint John’s holding a 1-0 halftime lead. The Gusties outshot the Johnnies 8-to-4 in the opening frame and had six corner kick opportunities.
It would take until the 70th minute before Gustavus would get on the scoreboard. After taking a pass off a corner kick from David Lilly (So., Maple Grove, Minn.), Charlie Adams (Fr., Stillwater, Minn.) created space with a sharp move along the end line within the penalty box. The rookie’s cross traveled over the goal box onto the head of an uncovered Zach Brown. Brown put the pass into the back of the net to tie the match at 1-1.
“A perfect cross in and luckily there wasn’t a defender on me,” said Brown.
Saint John’s would have a chance with ten minutes left of regulation on a 3-on-1 breakaway, but the combination of a mistimed pass and solid defense by Lucas Thompson (Sr., Sioux Falls, S.D.) led to goalkeeper Brett Ylonen (So., Lake Elmo, Minn.) coming up with a save after getting a clear read on the Michael Coborn shot.
At the 95:57 mark in the first overtime session, Gustavus took advantage of another corner kick opportunity. Lilly crossed the corner across the goal box to Brown, who was open on the doorstep once again. Brown buried the game-winner to give Gustavus its third straight one goal victory.
“They were two excellent goals by Zach Brown. He’s turning into an absolute start,” said Middleton. “David Lilly, Charlie Adams, and Grant Steine all played heavily into the goals. Sublime crosses by both David and Charlie, while Grant’s mesmeric footwork set up the game-winning corner.”
Gustavus finished with the advantage in both shots (23-11) and corners (12-2). Gustavus goalkeeper Brett Ylonen picked up the victory after making a season-high seven saves in the match. Ylonen is now 5-1-1 on the year with a .64 goals against average.
“I was happy to see us control possession through stretches today. This is a tough group mentally and we played well after a bit of a sluggish start. It’s good to be back at home for a while and we look forward to hosting Saint Mary’s on Tuesday,” Midddleton stated.
The Gustavus men’s soccer team will take on the Cardinals at 4:00 p.m. on Sept. 25. Saint Mary’s enters with an overall record of 3-5-0 and an MIAC mark of 1-2-0.