Iguanas edge Jogo Lento in a wild one
Up-and-down match results in 3 pointsUpdated Thursday May 19, 2016 by Eric Thompson.
A lot can happen in a 90 minute soccer game.
And just about all of it happened on a cool Monday night in St. Paul.
Jogo Lento hosted Iguanas for a late match under the lights at McMurray Fields. Friday the 13th had happened just three days earlier, and some of the freaky after-effects seemed to be lingering on the pitch for this one. Jogo Lento dictated the pace from the outset, putting lots of pressure on the Iguanas back line and controlling the majority of the play. Iguanas were stuck chasing the ball without much discipline to their man marking. The hosts finally struck first about 20 minutes in. A Jogo Lento attacker fought his way up the left side of the field and slotted a shot just past Jason Radatz to make the score 1-0.
The lead didn't last long. Barry Sniezek threw the ball into Josh Hanson on the left flank, and Hanson did the rest. He darted around a couple defenders and snuck the ball just inside the near post to even the score.
But the scoring was just getting started.
Jogo Lento once again pushed through into the Iguanas penalty area but the defense forced what was seemingly a harmless ball right at Radatz. But the Iguanas keeper mishit the ball, which looked to be spinning backwards and out for a corner. Radatz hung his head down at his mistake, but it was about to get much worse. An enterprising Jogo Lento forward snagged the ball before it went over the line and sent it to a wide open teammate to tap it in, and suddenly Iguanas were trailing again on a howler of a goal.
Once again, Hanson provided the heroics to get Iguanas even. With time winding down in the first half, Hanson was able to finish a scramble at the top of the box with a precise left-footed shot that was heading toward the back post. Doug Humphrey made sure it was going in by tapping it in over the line. Jogo Lento was adamant that Hanson had handled the ball just before his shot, but the referee ruled that Hanson had trapped the ball with his shoulder and chest and therefore the score stood at 2-2.
But the crazy half wasn't over yet. Seconds before the halftime whistle, Jogo Lento claimed their third lead of the game with another quick attack. A midfielder on the right side of the field made a run completely unmarked and fired a shot that Radatz got a piece of, but not enough as the home team took a 3-2 lead into half.
Iguanas were frustrated and reeling at halftime, but came out much more composed for the final 45 minutes. Their marking, passing, communication, and goalkeeping were all much better as they fought to get back into the game for the third time. They finally did with about 25 minutes left in the game. After a nice series of passes created an Iguanas counterattack, Hanson found Kerry Burns streaking up the right side of the field with a perfectly weighted pass. Burns' clever shot flew past the keeper and into the net to once again knot the score.
About 10 minutes later, Iguanas finally got their first lead of the game from another quick counter. Ryan Elling sent a perfect cross into Mark Peterson, who trapped the ball down and fired a shot through traffic and past the keeper. Once again Jogo Lento players were livid, claiming Peterson secured the ball with a hand ball before his shot. But once again the referee allowed the goal and Iguanas suddenly had the lead after chasing for the majority of the game.
The final 15 minutes were every bit as wild as the first 75. There were yellow cards handed out to players on both teams and near misses at both ends. But in the end Iguanas were able to hold on to secure their first victory of the season and a crucial three points.
Up next for Iguanas is Minnesota Flying Loons, a team that Iguanas has had mixed results against in the past. The Flying Loons won both matchups in 2014 but Iguanas were able to sweep the series in 2015.