Iguanas slide to last in the table with 2-1 lossUpdated Tuesday July 16, 2013 by Eric Thompson.
You know the old sports cliché about two teams heading in opposite directions? The game between Iguanas and JAWA FC was a perfect example of why clichés are so often true.
The two teams entered the game tied at the bottom of the Division 2 table, but their respective momentum couldn't have been more different. Iguanas limped into the game on a 0-3-3 skid while JAWA had gained all seven of their season's points in the last four games. Unfortunately for Iguanas, they couldn't reverse their recent trend against the suddenly scorching JAWA team.
JAWA controlled the run of play from the outset as Iguanas struggled to keep up with their younger and quicker opponents. But while JAWA created more opportunities early on, they were unable to find a finishing touch in the first 30 minutes as the Iguanas defense cleared away chance after chance. Meanwhile, Iguanas had plenty of counterattack opportunities thanks to JAWA's pressing style but passes kept missing the mark in the final third of the field.
The home team finally got the scoring started about 35 minutes in on a through ball deep into the box. Iguanas keeper Jason Radatz got to the ball first but couldn't hang on, leaving a wide open rebound for a streaking JAWA attacker to tap in for the 1-0 lead. Both squads had decent scoring chances in the remainder of the first half but neither could capitalize as the teams headed to the break with the 1-0 scoreline.
In the second half, Iguanas started to connect on passes that they were missing earlier and the game became much more of an even battle. JAWA was still sending players forward in bunches to extend their lead but it was Iguanas that struck first in the second stanza. After defender Eric Thompson stymied a JAWA run, Iguanas quickly connected on a great series of passes through the middle of the field. The counterattack was capped off when Olivier Toussaint flicked a nifty header past the JAWA defense to forward Paul Ross. Ross, who was stuffed on his previous attempt by JAWA keeper Kellen Lestor just minutes earlier, calmly blasted the ball into the lower right corner to tie the game.
But it just wouldn't be an Iguanas game without them giving points away in the second half, would it? JAWA's deep bench helped them take advantage of Iguanas' tired legs in the hot and humid St. Paul weather for the remainder of the game. With both teams pressing for the game winner, Iguanas made a crucial error as a supporting pass missed its target. The errant pass allowed a clean breakaway for a JAWA midfielder and he put the ball in the back of the net to regain the lead for his team.
The final score could have been worse. JAWA continued to make attacking runs in the last 15 minutes but Radatz (and the crossbar) made sure that all attempts to extend the JAWA lead were thwarted. However, Iguanas couldn't capitalize on their keeper's valiant effort and the game ended as a 2-1 loss.
The bad news for Iguanas: they're in dead last in the standings. The good news: they're still only four points out of fourth place with four games to play. They'll take on that fourth place team, Brit's Pub FC, next week at Victory Park. The teams tied 1-1 earlier in the year.