Strong Second Half Propels Tigers Past Blue Knights

Strong Second Half Propels Tigers Past Blue Knights

Marshalltown, IA- A flurry of second half goals capped off a strong 7-0 victory for Marshalltown Community College (MCC) over the Blue Knights of Dakota County Technical College (DCTC). The win extends MCC's win streak to eight, and keeps them at the top of the ICCAC with a record of 8-1. The Tigers are 13-1 overall on the season. The loss drops DCTC to 1-5 in ICCAC play, and 3-7 overall.

The theme of the match was the Tigers dominant ball possession. They would test the Blue Knight keeper, Parker Jamison, early and often. Jamison proved up to the challenge, denying four Tiger shots in the first 15 minutes of play.  The game would remain scoreless for the first 30 minutes of play, even though MCC attempted nine shots, four on goal. The Tigers would pull ahead in the 30th minute on a goal by sophomore Leonardo Tomasi. The goal was scored in transition as freshman Matheus Pereira played a long ball over the top to find Tomasi who then made two defenders miss before finding the bottom left corner of the net. The goal was Tomasi's second in as many matches, while the assist was Pereira's 6th on the year which ties him for second best on the team.

The score would remain 1-0 going into the halftime which Head Coach Rafael Martinez would use to make necessary adjustments.

"I thought we were playing well in the first half but we knew we could be playing better," Martinez said. "The two adjustments made for the second half were the speed of play and overall execution. We tried to move the ball quicker so that we could create spaces to attack. We told the players to focus on the technique and execution to allow for better crosses and shots on goal. The team responded well to the challenge we charged them with, making better decisions quicker which gave us better looks on goal."

The response from the Tigers to the halftime advice was very clear as they had full control of the momentum starting the second half bearing down on the Blue Knight box. A scoring opportunity presented itself in the 50th as freshman defender Aleix Viladot took a shot which was blocked. The ball careened to fellow freshman Gerald Diaz who found the back of the net as the keeper was out of position. This would be Diaz's first of three goals on the day.  Diaz struck again just five minutes later, beating defenders and the keeper, extending the Tiger lead to 3-0.

The relentless Tiger attack would not waste anytime pushing the lead to 4-0 on a perfectly executed cross play featuring freshmen Cesar Mont, Kazuki Kimura and Sekou Kromah one minute later. Mont played Kimura a ball on the right wing from the midfield which Kimura would take to the corner before crossing to an open Kromah who would one time the ball into the left side of the net. This was Kromah's 5th score of the season, his second in as many matches. The assist was the 7th for Kimura which puts him at the top of the MCC leaderboard, and second in the ICCAC in that category.

The scoring continued when Diaz completed the hat trick in the 61st minute. Sophomore Rafael Vacas found an open Diaz with time and space to beat the Blue Knight keeper. This was the first career hat trick for Diaz, and raised his goal total on the season to seven which ties him for third highest thus far for MCC. The assist was Vacas's fourth on the season and raised his team leading point total to 30.

The Tigers would empty their bench with the commanding 5-0 lead. MCC would strike again when sophomore Evandro Resende would capitalize on a penalty kick which was set up by a foul suffered by sophomore Pedro Silva in the box. The goal was Resende's first on the year. The final score would be netted on a corner kick from Resende that found the head of sophomore Andre Luis in the 79th minute. The assist and goal were the third of the season for Resende and Luis respectively.

"It was a great team performance, the players coming off of the bench were great contributors in the second half," Martinez commented about the win. "We were also able to see the return to play of Tora (Torachiyo Machida, who had been sidelined by an injury the majority of the season). He executed perfectly to the point where you couldn't notice that he had missed any time on the field. His level of play was surprising and encouraging for our entire team as we prepare to close the regular season and get ready for tournament play."

The Tigers return to action on Tuesday as they travel to Waterloo to take on the Hawkeye Community College Red Tails. This will be the Tigers' final ICCAC match as they look to finish as the sole team at the top of the regular season standings for the first time since 2015. The match is set to kickoff at 5PM at the Cedar Valley Soccer Complex.

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