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The Weber State University men’s club soccer team walked away with a narrow 3-2 victory over the Kodiak Futbol Club Saturday morning, thanks to a made penalty kick from WSU’s Jess Patterson in the 90th minute. Though the former national champions came out with the win, it didn’t come as they might have liked.
Early in the first half, WSU had several opportunities on the offensive end, but simply couldn’t finish. There were great crosses to the middle, but the final touch either wasn’t on target or wasn’t strong enough. In the ninth minute, Wildcat keeper Jeff Rogers was caught in no-man’s land on the left side, and was scored on with a chip shot over his head.
Over the next several minutes of play, the Wildcats were clearly frustrated, and passing had lost its accuracy and crispness, and opportunities were blown by multiple offside calls against WSU.
“The goal definitely took us down a notch,” said WSU midfielder Korbin Tafoya, “but it also encouraged us a little bit more to fight, and to realize it wasn’t going to be an easy game.”
Then, in the 23rd minute, former National Championship MVP Cord Stimpson of the Wildcats deflected a cross into the right side of the goal. Due to what part of his body he deflected the ball with, he had to leave the pitch, but entered the game later.
“It was kind of a joke, actually,” said Stimpson of his goal, “but it went into the back of the net, and that’s all that really matters.”
That goal gave the Wildcats the confidence they needed to take a 2-1 lead not more than two minutes later off of a well-placed shot from Tafoya to the left side of the net. Despite opportunities from both sides, the score remained 2-1 going into halftime.
Going into the second half, the Wildcats seemed more poised and in control, but in the 59th minute, there was a trip outside the Wildcat box on the left side. The free kick ricocheted off of a Kodiak FC player and into the right side of the goal to once again even up the score, this time at 2-2.
The intensity of the game began to increase as it went on. Late in the game, the Wildcats put on the pressure and gave themselves several opportunities to get a goal, but couldn’t make it happen. In one instance, the keeper was beaten about 16 yards out, but the shot was right to the feet of the last defender. In another, a shot deflected off the Kodiak FC keeper, but the rebound strike was right back to him as well. The last defender was beaten, but the ball was too far ahead and the keeper cleaned it up.
Finally, in the 90th minute, Patterson got tackled in the box, and was given the opportunity to essentially win the game with virtually no time left. As he approached the ball to take the penalty kick, the keeper shuffled to his left before the ball was struck. Patterson drilled the ball to the keeper’s right side, leaving him dead in his tracks.
Despite the win, WSU head coach Will Rader said he wasn’t pleased with how his team played.
“We just got to make sure that even though we have a lead, a one-goal lead, we just keep going; we keep playing like every game, every minute, every pass matters.”
Rader also said the team is still early in its season, but perfection will be expected, especially around Thanksgiving.
Stimpson said he wasn’t surprised at Rader’s reaction.
“He probably should have harped on us a little more, because we played really bad,” he said.
Tafoya shared the sentiment.
“Oh no, (I was) definitely not surprised. He definitely expects more out of us, and we should expect more out of ourselves, so the way that he responded to the game was spot-on. He’s always wanting to win, and never wants to lose.”
The Wildcats’ next game will be a home game at 5 p.m. on Sept. 13 against the University of Utah.