Iguanas Send ACME Packing
4-1 Victory Improves Playoff ChancesUpdated Tuesday August 6, 2013 by Eric Thompson.
For the past three weeks, every game has been a must-win game for Iguanas. And for the past three weeks, Iguanas have turned "must" into "did".
Iguanas played in Vadnais Heights for the first time in over a month and it was a welcome homecoming. Unlike the previous week, Iguanas had a full compliment of substitutes and the extra bodies paid off. It wasn't the flashiest game Iguanas have played this year, but their pressure and hustle more than made up for the occasional lack of touch.
The teams took the first 15-20 minutes of the game to feel each other out; neither team could muster many chances as most of the action took place in the middle third of the field. But Iguanas finally took over momentum and were rewarded with the game's first goal. After a scramble in front of the ACME goal was partially cleared, stopper Jeremy Leinberger kept the ball in bounds along the touch line. He sent a quick pass to Joe Wieland, who chipped the ball towards the net from about 6 yards out. The goalie got a piece of it, but not enough as the ball crossed the line before an ACME defender could clear it out.
Wieland struck again from much further out a few minutes later. He intercepted an errant pass and noticed the ACME goalkeeper slightly off his line. He sent in a shot from 25 yards that curved away from the keeper and just inside the right post.
Iguanas created a couple more chances but couldn't capitalize on any before half. Meanwhile, the Iguanas back line did an excellent job of thwarting any chances by ACME and the teams headed into halftime with the 2-0 score line in favor of Iguanas.
Earlier in the season, a 2-0 lead might have been the worst thing possible for Iguanas. They had given up their fair share of late leads only to settle for disappointing ties and losses. But the new and improved Iguanas made sure that they held on for the full three points.
It looked like Iguanas were poised to go up by another goal early in the second half when defender Eric Thompson sent a through ball to Paul Ross, who was taken down hard in the box. But no penalty was given--much to the surprise of nearly everyone on the field.
Earlier in the season, an egregious no-call might have thrown Iguanas into a tailspin. Iguanas had received two red cards in their first matchup with ACME thanks to some questionable calls. But the new and improved Iguanas made sure they kept their composure and continued to work for their next goal. (Right after Thompson was shown a yellow card for voicing his displeasure about the call.)
ACME applied more pressure to try and get back in the game but it was Iguanas who struck again near the 70th minute. Josh Hanson stopped an ACME attack and sent a long through ball to Kevin Bonnema. The Iguanas forward got behind the defense and calmly beat the keeper to increase the lead to 3-0. About ten minutes later, Bonnema struck again thanks to an excellent give-and-go with midfielder Brian Pearson.
Although the result wasn't in doubt after Bonnema's second goal, Iguanas couldn't quite secure their second shutout of the season as ACME scored with a couple minutes remaining. The final whistle blew and Iguanas secured their third straight victory by a score of 4-1.
After being mired at the bottom of the standings just three weeks ago, Iguanas currently own the fourth and final playoff spot in Monday Division 2. In order to maintain their spot in the table and qualify for the playoffs, they must get a result against Blast II. It won't be an easy task; Blast II is tied for first in the standings after knocking off previously-unbeaten Eagle Street FC. Iguanas lost a 6-4 shootout to Blast the first time around this season.