Iguanas, Lightening Company battle to 2-2 draw
Leinberger's brace keeps Iguanas undefeatedUpdated Tuesday May 19, 2015 by Eric Thompson.
It was exactly a week before Memorial Day but it felt more like the week before Thanksgiving as Iguanas and Lightening Company took to the pitch at Kensington Park. Gametime temperatures were in the low 40's with a very brisk breeze blowing across the field. While the conditions were far from ideal, the two teams fought through and provided very entertaining match.
Most of the game was a back-and-forth affair and the game started off that way. Each team traded off possession in the other's defending third but early opportunities were either narrowly missed or ushered away by the defenses. The wind proved to be a difficult factor with crosses and long passes, leading to plenty of counter attacking chances for both teams. About 25 minutes in, Iguanas had a nice series of passes that ended up near the right side of Lightening Company's penalty area. After a scramble and an attempted clearance, the ball ended up at the feet of Jeremy Leinberger. He fired in a hard shot that was headed straight for the far post. A Lightening Company defender got a piece of the shot but couldn't steer the ball enough off course. The shot found the back of the net and Iguanas took a 1-0 lead.
Iguanas looked to build on their lead and were threatening again, but it was Lightening Company that lived up to their name with a quick counter attack. With just a few connected passes a forward was loose against the Iguanas back line. He made a couple nifty moves and slotted the ball past Jason Radatz to level the score at 1-1.
Just before halftime, Iguanas regained the lead thanks to another bit of heroics from Leinberger. With Iguanas in possession on the top of the opposing penalty area, Mark Peterson ripped a shot that was deflected directly to Leinberger. The defender had scored all of one goal in the past two seasons combined but he scored his second goal of the first half with a great shot into the upper right corner. Iguanas took a 2-1 lead into halftime.
The second half was a back-and-forth affair with lots of long runs and chances on net. Nobody was able to tally a goal until about midway through the half. Iguanas committed a foul about 25 yards from goal that unfortunately left a Lightening Company player injured. Perhaps the ensuing delay left Iguanas off guard, because they conceded on the resulting free kick. Any one of three unmarked Lightening Company attackers could have headed the cross in, but only one was needed as the home team drew even for the second time.
The remainder of the game was nerve wracking for both teams as chances were narrowly missed on both ends. Lightening Company probably had the best chance to break the deadlock late in the game after a glancing headed clearance fell straight to their forward in the box, but he put the ball over the net. The game came to a close as a hard-fought and probably deserved 2-2 draw.
The draw gives Iguanas 7 points through three games and leaves them tied atop the Monday Division 2 table with two teams. After the Memorial Day break they will take on one of those teams: Dunesday.