Moorhead struggles on offense
NEW BRIGHTON, Minn. - Moorhead turned Wayzata's best player into just another shivering spectator Thursday night. That was the beginning of the bad news. Mr. Soccer - Wisconsin-bound Trojans goalie Ryan Vint - may as well have been Mr. Belvedere ...
NEW BRIGHTON, Minn. - Moorhead turned Wayzata's best player into just another shivering spectator Thursday night.
That was the beginning of the bad news.
Mr. Soccer - Wisconsin-bound Trojans goalie Ryan Vint - may as well have been Mr. Belvedere because beyond occasional clean-up duty his skills were scarcely tested.
What's more, topseeded Wayzata allowed only two shots on goal, posting a seventh consecutive and 16th overall shutout. And, in a rare offensive spurt for a club that has scored more than three goals in an entire game just once this fall, the Trojans tallied twice in 9 minutes, 13 seconds late in the first half of a 2-0 victory against the Spuds in the Minnesota Class 2A state quarterfinals at Irondale High School's Wendt Field.
"We can't play (only) a half," Moorhead coach Tim Costello said. "That's all we played. We had a good second half. We had some opportunities, didn't generate anywhere near the offense we needed to. They had a lot of individual talent. They clearly are a No. 1 seed."
Likewise, the Spuds (15-4-3) proved they at least belonged in tournament's eight-team field - their first bid since 2001 - by winning 11 straight over the past five weeks, and then holding Wayzata scoreless in the second half.
However, by the time the Trojans (18-1-1) face Blaine in Tuesday's semifinals, it will have been more than a month since they've allowed a goal.
By dictating play throughout the first half before knocking in two goals - the first on a bang-bang-bang sequence that Jorge Rios fired into the lower left corner of the net in the 25th minute - Wayzata took a nearly insurmountable lead into halftime.
"If we can get the second goal we feel pretty good," Trojans coach Michael Wagner said. "We don't give up a lot of goals."
They've given up five to be exact. Moorhead had but two real scoring chances, one that an unmarked Cole Nirschl airmailed from deep in the 18-yard box and another that Vint blocked by leaping and diving to his left.
Had the game not been played on artificial grass - another element working against the Spuds, who had 90 minutes of practice to get used to the faster, bouncier surface - he may have actually gotten dirty. When doing more than bystanding, the keeper - like so many of his teammates - was fun to watch. Moorhead's Adam Haskins summarized the evening well "This is the best team we've played by far," said the junior goalkeeper, who made 11 saves and more than earned his keep. "It was great being here, fun. Definitely won't ever forget it."
FIRST HALF: 1, W, Rios (Swierk) 24:46. 2, W, Harrison 33:59. SECOND HALF: No scoring. SAVES: M, Haskins 11, Murray 2. W, R. Vint 2.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Terry Vandrovec at (701) 241-5548