St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus men’s soccer team saw its five-match unbeaten-streak come to an end with a 2-1 loss to Wartburg College on Tuesday afternoon at the Gustie Soccer Field. After Gustavus grabbed a 1-0 lead following a Patrick Roth (Fr., Stillwater, Minn.) goal early in the second half, the Knights responded with two unanswered goals – both of which were scored by freshman Paris Martins – to earn the non-conference win on the road. Gustavus drops to 5-2-1 overall with the loss, while Wartbug improves to 5-2-2.
“Disappointing result today, but a very good performance,” said Head Coach Mike Middleton after the match. “We always knew we were vulnerable in the center of defense with defensive stalwart Zach Schmith on the sidelines and that proved to be the case. New center-back pairings are always tough, but we played very well and controlled large swathes of possession throughout the game.”
After a scoreless first half where Gustavus recorded six shots (three on goal) to Wartburg’s four shots (three on goal), the Gusties grabbed the lead within the first ten minutes of the second half. Inside the 54th minute, Konnor Tranoris (So., Des Moines, Iowa) hit Patrick Roth in stride at the top of the box, and after making a move to create space between him and a pair of Wartburg defenders, Roth struck a low, left-footed shot into the bottom right corner of the net. The goal was Roth’s first of his collegiate career and it gave Gustavus a 1-0 lead.
Before the Gusties able to enjoy their one-goal margin, Wartburg took advantage of a defensive mistake and countered quickly with a goal. Paris Martins slipped in behind the defense, avoided a sliding Brett Ylonen (Jr., Lake Elmo, Minn.) at the top of the box and knocked in the easy chip-shot to tie the match at 1-1 in the 57th minute.
Fifteen minutes after his first goal, Martins struck again on a similar play. Once again, the rookie got behind the back line and was one-on-one with the Gustie keeper. Martins was able to get around the challenge for his second tap-in goal of the night, extending the Knights’ lead to 2-1 with 18:57 left to play.
“Wartburg was an excellent side and they deserve a great deal of credit. They are a solid bunch with some very good players who played very well,” complimented Head Coach Mike Middleton. “They managed to contain our attacking threat for most of the game and they did a nice job hitting us on the break.”
The Gusties were able to generate five shots and four corner kick opportunities in the remaining minutes, yet could not find a way to beat Wartburg goalkeeper Cade Shatzer who made four saves after Martins go-ahead goal. Gustavus’s best chance came at the 78:18 mark when Konnor Tranoris fired a blast that found its way through traffic only to squarely hit the left post before being cleared out of danger by Wartburg.
Gustavus finished with a 15-10 edge in shots and a 12-4 advantage in corner kicks.
Goalkeeper Brett Ylonen suffered his second loss of the season (5-2-1) after allowing more than one goal for just the first time all year. He made a total of five saves, while his counterpart, Cody Shatzer, picked up the win in a six-save outing.
“I still really enjoy the way we play and we must not throw the baby out with the bathwater,” Middleton commented. “We are a top team in this region and we are top-class in possession. Our forwards are very hard to handle, our work-rate is high, and we have some very creative attacking midfield players. We must learn to be more clinical in front of the goal, to move the ball even quicker, and not get away from what has made us the team we are.”
The Gustavus men’s soccer team will have the remainder of the week to prepare for its return to MIAC play on Saturday, Sept. 28. The Gusties will travel to Collegeville, Minn. where they will take on Saint John’s University at 3:00 p.m.
“Saint John’s will be a tough proposition at their place this Saturday,” said Middleton about his team’s upcoming match. “They are a scrappy, dogged team with some dynamic players who make life very difficult. With that in mind, today’s contest was an excellent game for us to take on at this stage of the season – it was good preparation for this upcoming weekend.”