Mountain Lions play short-handed against Masters and lose 4-2
The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Mountain Lions scored a goal late in the second half playing short-handed, but it wasn't enough as the Mountain Lions lost to Master's College 4-2 in Friday night's match.
The Mountain Lions have had problems defending against free-kicks all season long and tonight Master's College took full advantage of that.
In the 33rd minute the Mustangs connected on a long free kick. The ball was sent over the Mountain Lions defense and Jared Thornton timed the pass perfectly to collect the ball behind the Mountain Lions defense and but the ball in the back of the net for the Mustang's first goal.
The Mountain Lions responded with a goal of their own in the 41st minute.
Jeff Bettner played the ball to Bryan Stoeber near the endline. Stoeber took a few touches and sent a crossing ball to Brandon Best. Best deflected the ball right to the foot of Andrew Oliver who scored.
Heading into halftime the game was tied 1-1, but the Mountain Lions outshot the Mustangs 10 to four.
In the 54th minute the Mountain Lions suffered another let down as Thornton was able to track down another long pass and feed teammate Justin Mohrigh. Mohrigh took a shot from 18 yards and scored the Mustang's second goal.
Minutes later, Thornton received yet another long ball and had a break-away opportunity against the Mountain Lion's starting goalkeeper Isaac Kostrow.
Kostrow came out and slid into Thornton in hopes of blocking any shot attempt. In doing so, Kostrow took out Thornton, was given a red card and ejected from the game. The Mustangs were also given a penalty kick and the Mountain Lions would have to play a man down for the remainder of the game.
James Bjorklund replaced Kostrow and faced the PK as he entered the game.
"[Kostrow] had to make the play that he did. The card was really unexpected," said Bjorklund. "It was a very surreal experience coming into the game having to face a pk right off the bat."
Bjorklund showed his guts and blocked the penalty kick, sending the ball out the endline.
However, the Mustangs redeemed the missed opportunity in the 79th minute. Joe Barnes sent a crossing pass from 40 yards out, and found the head of Matthew Cox. Cox headed the ball right into the back of the Mountain Lions' goal.
In the 83rd minute disaster struck the Mountain Lions. In an attempt to catch the Mustang defense off-guard Bjorklund attempted to drop-kick the ball, but instead of the ball soaring over the Mustang defense, the ball flew 10 yards right to the feet of Ewout Van Rhee.
"I just rushed it," said Bjorklund. "Instead of doing the fundamentals, I rushed the kick and it cost us."
Bjorklund tried to recover but Van Rhee was able to get the ball to Thornton, who was trailing on the play. Thornton easily put the ball into the open net.
The Mountain Lions responded two minutes later scoring a goal of their own.
In the 85th minute the Mountain Lions sent the ball into the Mustang's corner and got a cross off. The ball went straight to the feet of Kellen Griswold, who shielded off a Mustang defender and tipped the ball to James McMonigle. McMonigle settled the ball and then sent it to the upper deck for the Mountain Lion's second goal of the game.
"Earlier in the game my man was being aggressive and would run ahead of me in the box," said McMonigle. "I just slowed down and let my man run through. Luckily enough I was able to get the ball and score. I did what I could for my team."
Playing a man down for nearly 30 minutes will hurt any team and it hurt the Mountain Lions tonight.
"It always hurts to have that happen [red card]," said McMonigle. "We had them on their heels but [the red card] really took our feet out from under us."
Both McMonigle's and Oliver's goals were the first of the season for each player. Thornton finished the game with two goals and one assist.
After tonight's match the NAIA Division I Mustangs improved to 4-1 overall. The Mountain Lions fell to 3-4, dropping below .500 for the first time this season.
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