St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus men’s soccer team has proved to be a second half club through the second half of the season. On Saturday afternoon against Augsburg College, the Gusties proved to be just that. With both teams struggling to find the match’s opening goal for the first 70 minutes of the afternoon, Gustavus’s Patrick Roth (Fr., Stillwater, Minn.)broke the scoreless tie with a goal in the 72nd minute. Charlie Adams (So., Stillwater, Minn.) added an insurance goal less than 10 minutes later to allow the Gusties a 2-0 victory.
“Great game from the lads today, this was the quietest I can ever remember being on the sideline since before these lads were even born,” laughed Head Coach Mike Middleton following the match.
With the win, Gustavus earns three points and now sits atop the MIAC standings with 24 points. The Gusties improve to 11-2-1 overall and 8-0-0 in the MIAC. Augsurg drops to 9-6-1 overall and 4-4-0 in the MIAC with the loss. This year’s Gustavus team is only the second squad in program history to begin MIAC play with an unbeaten 8-0-0 record. The 1970 Gusties also started the year 8-0-0 and eventually won the MIAC regular season title with a record of 10-0-0.
“I thought we started very well and created some good chances in the first half,” said Middleton. “We controlled the vast majority of the play, and apart from the occasional break-down defensively, we defended their strong counter attack very well. It’s very difficult for any team to defend most of the game and we knew that Augsburg was a fast-hitting team that could tire and run out of gas. To their credit, the Auggies worked hard and kept themselves in the game.”
The first half came to an end with Augsburg holding a 5-4 shots advantage. Gustavus goalkeeper Brett Ylonen (Jr., Lake Elmo, Minn.) was challenged three times, while his counterpart, Clayton Lynch, was tested once.
The Gusties came out of the break and controlled possession for the majority of the opening minutes, generating five corner kicks within the opening five minutes of the half. Despite the time in the offensive end and corner kick opportunities, Gustavus could not find a way to beat Augsburg’s back line.
“We came out well in the second half pushed them back,” Middleton said about his team’s play in the opening stages of the second half. “We had several corners in a row and put their goal under immense pressure. We even had a shot cleared off the goal line that Augsburg defended well to hook away.”
A golden opportunity arose early in the 60th minute when Gustavus was awarded a penalty kick for a hand-ball called on Augsburg within the goalkeeper box. David Lilly (Jr., Maple Grove, Minn.) lined up to take the penalty kick and drove a low liner at the left post. Clayton Lynch sprawled out to his right and made the diving save to keep Gustavus off the scoreboard.
“David Lilly stepped up to take the penalty, which resulted in a nice save by the ‘keeper to keep them in the game,” commented Middleton. “The most pleasing thing from my aspect was that the lads were not thrown emotionally, instead, kept strong and kept creating chances.”
A little over ten minutes after Lilly’s penalty kick try, Gustavus struck. Charlie Adams worked his way up the right side of the pitch and put a cross into the box. Patrick Roth made a dash down the center of the box and put the cross away with a one-timed right-footer.
“Charlie Adams beat his player up the right hand side and shaped a pass across the six yard box for Patrick Roth. Roth made a darting run across the face of the defender, sliding in to meet the cross at full stretch, putting the ball into the back of the net,” said Middleton about the eventual game-winning goal.
At the top of the 78th minute, Roth returned the favor to his Stillwater High School teammate for what was Adams’s first goal of the year.
“Patrick played a ball back to the edge of the box for an on-rushing Charlie Adams. Adams picked out the top corner of the net with a sublime one-touch side-foot shot,” said Middleton about Gustavus’s second goal. “It was an excellent goal that wrapped up the game for certain. Good ol’ Charlie Adams on the ball is as clever as a man with three heads.”
Gustavus goalkeeper Brett Ylonen posted his third straight shutout in a five-save effort. He improved to 11-2-1 with the win, dropping his goals against average to 0.45 and improving his save percentage to .887. The junior has now posted six shutouts and has allowed just two goals in October.
“With only one real shot for Brett Ylonen to save, special mention must be made of our goalkeeper and back four – they were like the Rock of Gibraltar today,” Middleton said about his defensive team’s defensive effort. “We kept moving the ball well, and we knew that something would eventually shake loose.”
Along with the play of his defense, coach Middleton also gave credit to his forwards. “Up-front strikers Zach Brown, Konnor Tranoris and Ryan Tollesfrud caused their defense all types of headaches. They may not have scored, but boy did they play well.”
The Gusties outshot Augsburg 12-7 and had a 7-3 advantage in corner kicks by the end of the match.
“Augsburg worked hard and was well organized defensively,” complimented Middleton. “We needed to perform well to beat them today, so I was especially happy for the lads. It’s back to work next week as we prepare for our first mid-week contest in quite some time.”
The Gusties will conclude their 2013 regular season schedule next week. Gustavus travels to Arden Hills to take on Bethel at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29, then will be at home to face Hamline at 1:00 p.m.in the regular season finale on Saturday, Nov. 2.