Mexico soccer players seemingly appeared to be about two steps behind that of Marshall's front line of attack Tuesday when the Owls assaulted the Bulldogs often and kept the defense on its heels as Mexico suffered a 6-1 home loss in North Central Missouri Conference play.
“Marshall has many offensive weapons on the field and does a really good job crashing around the net when a shot is placed, and they do a good job of working the ball across the field,” said Mexico boys soccer coach William Gleeson. “It's hard to try and nail down just one or two players because they have several who work the ball around real well and who are capable of scoring on you.”
The Bulldogs struck first, yet unfortunately it would be the only scoring celebration partaken by the home fans when senior Jeffrey Haines netted his goal at 28:50 from about 10 yards away.
Marshall (2-2, 2-0 NCMC) would respond with six unanswered goals, including four in the first half.
The Owls Steve Escalante recorded a hat trick scoring his team's first and final goal on the night. Escalante scored cleanly on a penalty kick roughly three minutes after Haines' score when a Marshall player was taken down within the 18m box.
Marshall's go-ahead goal arrived at 12:07 when Omar Torres won the ball during a scrum within the Mexico goal box area and Torres was able to strike the ball into the nylons for a 2-1 lead.
Four minutes later, Hector Garcia of Marshall was on a breakaway run and would easily score at 7:57, and then Escalante took the Owls into the break leading 4-1 with his second goal of the night arriving at 5:20.
“Marshall has good team-speed that makes it hard to match. We were at a disadvantage because one of our key defenders, Alex Ventura, is hurt with a toe injury. Alex is probably our fastest defender on the field and if he was healthy I think he would have made a positive impact for us,” Bulldogs coach Gleeson said.
With 34:05 remaining, Torres collected a rebound and found an empty net in front of him to easily deposit his second goal of the game, and then Escalante notched the hat trick at 11:28 for the final score.
“Before we play our next game we need to get back to playing what we do well, which is executing fundamentals,” Gleeson said. “This includes slowing things down, working the ball, getting into proper positions on the field and when we can do that I feel we're unstoppable. We're not going to let this loss define the rest of our season. After watching some game film and talking about it, we'll be looking hard at things we can do to improve and then get after right away in practice as we move forward.”
Mexico (2-1, 1-1 NCMC) will travel to compete against Moberly next Monday.