In their first regular season game of 2017, the Mexico varsity boy's soccer team hosted Elsberry/Silex on Wednesday and eventually pulled away for a 6-2 victory.
"In the second half I felt it was Elsberry/Silex breaking down that led to our success. They seemed a little bit more tired than we were," said coach Chris Hawkins. "We have a lot of potential, but tonight I felt we played down to there level. During our jamboree we played up to Hannibal and Moberly's level, and that's how we should be playing."
For most of the first half the Bulldogs had possession of the ball in Indians/Owls territory. But, they didn't break the scoreless tie until 12:13 on a shot by Alan Ventura. Shortly there after Mexico was able to go up 2-0 at 9:05 when Ventura redirected a deflection past the Elsberry/Silex goalie.
"Alan played very well. He was able to find the open spaces and made sure he was there when he was needed so he could capitalize on those opportunities," Hawkins said. "We never got the ball off of our feet. That was one thing we were struggling with. We were keeping the ball for to long. We need to pass quick and play quick because that's how we practice."
The Indian/Owls then cut that advantage to 2-1 at 4:51 off the foot of senior Anthony Bange. That's as close as this game would get, though, as the Bulldogs controlled the second half starting at 36:24 when Connor Frazier connected on a deflection to put his squad back up by two. Down but not out, Elsberry/Silex hit nothing-but-net at 23:53 to make it a 3-2 game, leading to goals by Diego Vasquez at 16:49 and Riley Given at 6:33 to put Mexico in the drivers seat at 5-2.
Unfortunately, we were doing a lot of standing around in the final third where we were not challenging the keeper and attacking the ball when it was lose when it was in the penalty area," said Hawkins. "What seemed to be our problem was we were playing to Elsberry's level of play and we just tried to use brute force to get around them. This was not the same team that was playing in our jamboree last week."
Just over a minute later Jeff Haines scored to widen the gap to four goals at 5:31, which the Indians/Owls countered on a penalty kick at 2:54 to round out the scoring. Clocking assists on the evening for the Bulldogs includedAlex Ventura, Connor Frazier, Jeff Haines, and Ryan Shopher.
"We want to make sure we get the ball off of our feet a little quicker. We want to run combination plays and move the ball quick because that's what we excel at," Hawkins said.
Mexico, 0-1 overall, begins North Central Missouri Conference play on Monday at Moberly and on Tuesday Marshall is at the Bulldogs.