By: Andy Pulverenti, Missouri Valley Sports Information Director
MARSHALL, Mo. —It was a top 10 showdown at Gregg-Mitchell Field in Marshall, Mo. Tuesday night as the No. 10 Missouri Valley College men’s soccer team hosted No. 5 Ashford University (Iowa) in a non-conference matchup. Ashford was able to take an early lead, scoring on a penalty kick, but the Vikings scored late in regulation and eventually earned a 1-1 draw.
The Vikings had plenty of opportunities in the first half, getting off ten total shots including eight on goal, but it was Ashford that scored first. Ashford was awarded a penalty kick at the 30-minute mark after Missouri Valley midfielder Carlos Berastain Munar was called for a foul in the Viking box. Ashford forward Lucas Almeida was able to beat Missouri Valley keeper Josh Wells on the penalty, and the Saints took a 1-0 lead that would stand through the halftime break.
Missouri Valley tried to make a comeback early in the second half, and came within inches of tying the game when a shot by forward Tiago Ferreira hit the crossbar less than four minutes after the restart. Both teams had chances on goal throughout the second half, but Missouri Valley was able to get one late chance, and made it count. Forward Alberto Linan Gomez came away with a loose ball, and poked it past charging Ashford keeper Patrick Kinsella into goal, tying the game at 1-1 with less than five minutes remaining in regulation.
The overtime periods saw both teams have chances on goal, but Ashford had the best chance with only seconds remaining in the second overtime as a shot by Almeida hit the post, and was eventually cleared for a corner kick. Despite the close chance for Ashford, neither team was able to score a game-winning goal, ending the match in a 1-1 draw.
“This was a very well-played game between two of the top teams in the NAIA this year,” said Viking Head Coach Vladimir Simic. “It had a postseason feel, and was a very fast, very physical game played from end-to-end.”
The Vikings outshot Ashford 25 to 24, and had 16 shots on goal, compared to Ashford’s 13. Wells only allowed the penalty kick, but came up with a season-high nine saves. Gomez scored his third goal of the season for Missouri Valley and moved his point total on the year to 11. For Ashford, Kinsella came up with eight saves, and Almeida scored his seventh goal of the season.
The Vikings move to 6-1-1, while Ashford now has a 6-2-1 record.
Up next for the Vikings is a road matchup with Heart of America Athletic Conference foe Avila University (Mo.) in Kansas City, Mo. to open up conference play. Game time Saturday is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Ashford will play Bellevue University (Neb.) Saturday at 1:00 p.m. in Clinton, Iowa.