Three wins in a row for Iguanas
Late surge from Bloomington United falls shortUpdated Tuesday June 7, 2016 by Eric Thompson.
This one isn't going to go down as the prettiest three points ever, but it was still three points nonetheless.
Iguanas visited Bloomington United for a late Monday game at Victory Park in New Hope. The home team had failed to earn a point through their four games in May while the visitors came in on a two-game win streak. Everything about the matchup screamed "trap game" for Iguanas.
And it almost was. Although you couldn't tell in the first half.
The first 45 minutes panned out very nicely for Iguanas. They didn't exactly play their best soccer but their aggressive attacking and pressure on the Bloomington United back line paid off early. About 10 minutes into the game Mark Peterson rocketed a shot from about 20 yards out that clanged off the crossbar. Josh Hanson gathered the rebound and found Kevin Bonnema, who slotted home the first goal of the game. Bloomington United used their speedy forwards to create a couple of first half opportunities, but it was Iguanas who struck again about midway through the half. Midfielder Scott Hunter found Joel Giefer just outside the box. Giefer put a nifty spin move on his defender and fired a shot that took a slight deflection off a Bloomington United defender and found the net.
Iguanas continued to pressure and attack--albeit perhaps a little too quickly--but were able to get another goal before half. Hanson took a corner kick that was headed out by the defense right back to him. Hanson sent a curling ball back in that found the back corner of the net and Iguanas took a commanding 3-0 lead into the half. It was Iguanas' first halftime lead of the 2016 season.
It looked like the rout was on at the beginning of the second half. Iguanas scored their fourth as Hanson once again connected with Bonnema for a breakaway goal. (There were many more opportunities for the connection to happen again throughout the second half, but the rest of the opportunities were squandered by poor shots or being caught in an offside position.) Bloomington United finally got on the board about 60 minutes in after one of their attackers got behind the Iguanas defense and was flying in around the left flank. Jeremy Winter was called for a foul in the box, and Bloomington United calmly finished the resulting penalty kick. The lead had been cut to three, but the deficit didn't last long.
Just minutes later Giefer continued his game of soccer pinball. He took a pass from Winter along the end line on the left side of the goal, and once again his effort toward the goal first found a Bloomington United defender and then the back of the net. Iguanas tallied again after a nice series of passes through the back resulted in Brian Pearson dumping the ball off to Dalton Cristilly about 20 yards out. Cristilly took one quick touch and rifled a low, hard shot past the helpless keeper to make it 6-1.
Game over, right?
Not quite. With a huge lead midway through the second half, Iguanas took their foot off the gas. Marking got a little sloppy, passes got a little lazy, and Bloomington United showed that despite their record they definitely had some talent on their squad.
First, a careless turnover at midfield from Iguanas resulted in a Bloomington United midfielder making a great shot from about 25 yards out that flew over Jason Radatz and dipped under the bar.
Then a Bloomington United cross came into the box that Radatz and the Iguanas defense misjudged. It bounced right before sneaking into the net just in front of the far post.
Then the Iguanas missed another easy connection, resulting in a Bloomington United counter attack. The Iguanas back line was up a bit too high, and one of Bloomington United's crafty forwards was suddenly 1-on-1 with the last defender with a full head of steam. He won the battle and slotted home an easy goal.
In a matter of less than ten minutes, Iguanas had gone from a cruise control win to the verge of a collapse. Thankfully they were able to gather themselves for the stretch run and play well enough to hold onto their shrinking lead. Iguanas certainly had chances to add to their six goal night but were either caught offside or couldn't execute on their opportunities. Bloomington United kept sending numbers forward to try and scrape back into the game but Iguanas finally held firm as the ten-goal game finally came to an end.
The Iguanas' third straight victory leaves them with 10 points after 5 games, which is tied for the most in Monday Division 2. Next week they start a three game home stand against another team with 10 points. Cartes Rouge was promoted from Division 3 after going undefeated in the regular season last year, and they're off to a good start in their Division 2 debut.