Men’s Soccer Gets Back On Track With 2-0 Win Over Augsburg

Posted on October 25th, 2014 by

Matt Murakami's first collegiate goal proved to be the game-winner in the men's soccer team's 1-0 victory over Augsburg.

Matt Murakami’s first collegiate goal proved to be the game-winner in the men’s soccer team’s 1-0 victory over Augsburg.

Minneapolis – Following last Saturday’s 1-0 road loss to Macalester, Gustavus Adolphus head men’s soccer coach Mike Middleton said that it was time for his team to regroup and refocus if it wanted to make a push for a spot in the 2014 MIAC Playoffs. In a must-win situation on Saturday against Augsburg College, the Gusties took care of business in unconventional fashion. Thanks to goals form unlikely sources the likes of Matt Murakami (Fr., Eden Prairie, Minn.) and Patrick Leach (Jr., Sioux Falls, S.D.), Gustavus was able to earn a 2-0 victory at Edor Nelson Field.

With the win, Gustavus improves to 11-4-1 overall and 5-2-1 in the MIAC and is now in a tie for third place in the MIAC standings alongside Carleton with 16 points. Augsburg drops to 5-9-2 overall and 3-4-1 in the MIAC.

“An excellent win matched by a very good performance,” said Head Coach Mike Middleton. “The lads were bright and lively from the outset. The forwards worked very hard on both sides of the ball and their movement in possession caused problems for the opposition’s defensive shape. I was pleased with the team’s work-ethic and dynamism. Augsburg is a very competitive team who are well organized, and it is not an easy place to play. This was a good result today.”

At the 28:20 mark, Matt Murakami headed in his first career goal off left-side dish from Patrick Roth (So., Stillwater, Minn.).

“A lovely goal to open up proceedings,” said Middleton about Murakami’s first collegiate goal. “A sumptuous shaped left-foot cross from Patrick Roth across the face of the goal was snapped up like a veteran by Matt Murakami. Not only is he extremely clever on the ball, he is exceptional in the air. A full-stretch diving-header at the back post to meet the cross was as picturesque a goal as you’d wish to see. Both Matt Murakami and Isaac Bloom came on during the game to make significant contributions. Both have been showing really well in practice and have fully deserved their shot.

Just four minutes into the second half, Patrick Leach added the insurance goal with his second header-goal of the season. His first came way back on Sept. 17 the Black and Gold’s 3-1 victory over Carleton.

“The second goal came on a lovely ball from David Lilly being meet in the air by Patrick Leach,” Middeton said about his junior defender’s header. “That really sewed the game up and the points were the lads for the taking.”

Back in action for the first time since late-October, Brett Ylonen earned his first shutout of the season after making two saves.

Back in action for the first time since late-October, Brett Ylonen earned his first shutout of the season after making two saves.

Coach Middleton was especially pleased with his forwards’ performance on the defensive end. “The shape was good, we pressured well, and the central defenders marshaled the troops extremely efficiently,” he said. “The work rate of Zach Brown and Eli Bjerk up front provided the first line of defense. Along with the impressive Konnor Tranoris and the energetic Sam Leske, who also had spells up front, definitely provided the first line of defense. That energy and drive was the platform for the teams success today.

Augsburg outshot Gustavus 12-to-9 but only go two shots on target. Of the Gusties’ nine shots, three went on net.

Senior goalkeeper Brett Ylonen (Sr., Lake Elmo, Minn.), who was in action for the first time since Sept. 27’s 1-0 overtime loss to Saint John’s, earned his first complete-match shutout of the season in a two-save effort. Nick Lennertz suffered the loss after allowing both goals and making one save.

“In possession, we were good once again, but had to sacrifice some of that on such a narrow field,” Middleton stated. “The game was always going to be tight and at times we possessed the ball well even in the tightest of spaces. Apart from a few corners and the two shots they put on goal, the lads were remarkably parsimonious in the opportunities we gave up. Whilst at the other end, our attack created a number of good opportunities and looked like a threat once again.”

The Gustavus men’s soccer team will be back in action on Tuesday, Oct. 28 when it plays host to Bethel in its final home game of the regular season set to begin at 3:30 p.m.

“Augsburg plays St. Olaf on Tuesday at Augsburg and I think Augsburg can pick them off,” Middleton concluded. “Our own game on Tuesday is also not a forgone conclusion. Bethel has had some very tidy results and will have to beat us to go to the playoffs. It’s going to be another tough one, but at least we have the advantage of being at home. It should be fun, but for the moment, however, we just have to savor an excellent days work at the office!”

Box Score


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