Iguanas start 2015 with three points

Burns' late goal seals 1-0 victory

Updated Tuesday May 5, 2015 by Eric Thompson.

There's nothing better than getting back out on a nice grass pitch after a long winter. Iguanas hosted Minnesota Flying Loons on a beautiful May evening at Century College, their new home for the 2015 season.

Iguanas knew that their opening fixture was going to be a tough one; Iguanas lost both matches against the Flying Loons in 2014. But on this Star Wars Day (May the fourth be with you), the force was with Iguanas just enough. 

The game started as one might expect for a first game of the season: choppy with not much sustained possession for either team. Both Iguanas and Flying Loons made some promising runs off the ball but more often than not the passes were off target. The pitch at Century was in good condition but the noticeable crown of the field led to a lot of missed connections rolling out of bounds.

Toward the end of the first half both teams started getting more comfortable and creating more chances. Flying Loons had a few runs that looked promising but most were thwarted by the Iguanas defense. The best chance of the first half actually came on a cross--a Flying Loons midfielder sent a ball in that missed his intended target but went over Iguanas keeper Jason Radatz and off the crossbar. Meanwhile, Iguanas started to connect passes well in the midfield but couldn't threaten much in the penalty area. The first half came to a close in a scoreless draw.

The second half featured better play but no goals for the first 30 minutes. Neither team could find their finishing touch as both defenses held serve. As the half wore on Iguanas started to gain more control and create more chances. They looked to have a sure goal after a rebound found it's way to Nick Donnay just outside the six yard box, but he didn't connect purely with his shot and it flew over the net. But minutes later, Josh Hanson streaked down the right side of the field on a nice through ball behind the Flying Loons defense. Hanson sent in a quick cross to Kerry Burns, who had timed his run perfectly to stay onside. Burns slotted the ball past the Loons keeper on his first touch to break the deadlock with just over ten minutes remaining in the game.

The remainder of the game was tense as Iguanas looked to protect their lead. Flying Loons sent numbers forward in the final minutes to try to find the equalizer. They nearly did late in the game when a shot from about 15 yards out appeared to be trickling in. But Radatz cleared the ball off the line at the last moment to preserve the clean sheet. Minutes later, the final whistle blew and Iguanas had begun their 2015 campaign with three points.

Up next for Iguanas is another home game on Monday May 11. They host Beer Engines FC, a team Iguanas took four of possible six points against in 2014.




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