Scoring two early goals within the first twenty minutes against Florida National University, The Master’s University Men’s soccer team was looking to make it three-in-a-row on Tuesday.
Welcoming the Conquistadors (9-1-0) to Reese Field, the Mustangs started off flat and couldn’t wake up, falling 4-2. The visitors poked and prodded the defense from the start, vying for the perfect run or opportunity.
At the 6:43 mark, Mustangs defender Leo Anjos collected a ball at midfield and found a sprinting Trevor Mangan down the right side of the pitch who wound up one-on-one with a Conquistador defender.
Looking up and seeing all the open space in the middle of the 18-yard box, Mangan crossed the ball into the box to a wide-open Dylan Bielanski, who tapped the ball in to put the Mustangs up 1-0.
Trying to get something going, Florida National’s Onezimo Francisco and Rodrigo Costa played a little bit of a one-two game heading down the field, but Mustangs goalie, Price Anderson, was able to corral the ball and snuff out an opportunity.
At the 19:00 mark, the Mustangs were able to go on the offensive after Luis Garcia Sosa stole the ball from and led a counterattack. Peeking up, Garcia found Benji Tembo streaking down the right side of the pitch, who crossed the ball into the middle where Mangan pounced and put the ball in the back of the net.
“I thought I played well,” Mangan said. “We knew they were going to be a tough team so we knew we had to come out with fire and luckily we did that getting the 2-0 lead to start off and we knew it would still be a battle.”
Staging a furious comeback, the Conquistadors were able to rattle off two goals within four minutes of each other as Maximilliano Schenfeld and Rodrigo Costa scored at the 29:39 and 33:25-minute marks, respectively.
At halftime, the game was tied 2-2.
To begin the second half, the Conquistadors dominated the time of possession by crossing the ball from side to side.
The Mustangs got an early opportunity at about the 49th minute when Tembo struck a ball within the 18-yard box that was blocked by the Conquistador goalie and rebounded to the feet of Garcia-Sosa who kicked the ball well over the crossbar.
Fifteen minutes later, Costa scored his second goal of the match as a scrum for the ball ensued, just within the 18-yard box, with multiple Conquistadors trying to make contact with the ball until Costa hammered it in the give FNU their first lead of the game.
Making multiple substitutions and tactical changes, Mustang’s head coach Jim Rickard tried to ignite a dull and debilitated Mustang team by switching Tembo out wide and bringing on Brayden Campos and goalie Matheus Taraszkiewicz.
Unable to get anything going and with just under five minutes to play in the game, the Mustangs surrendered the fourth goal of the day after a sloppy out-of-bounds pass was crossed into the center of the goalie box with Costa finishing it for his third goal of the day.
“It was a good battle out there and we took a lot of positives from it,” Mangan said. “I’m definitely looking forward to the next game.”
The Mustangs play Bethesda University of California on Thursday at Reese Field at 4 p.m. before hosting No. 11 ranked Vanguard on September 27.
“We were just outmatched. Clearly outmatched,” Rickard said. “That’s the best team I’ve seen by far. It was encouraging that we came out and scored two early goals, but it was a good effort. We were just outmatched.”