Iguanas outlast Jogo Lento
Iguanas back to their winning ways with 4-2 winUpdated Tuesday July 19, 2016 by Eric Thompson.
With only five games remaining and an incredibly crowded table, every point was crucial for both Iguanas and Jogo Lento. The teams took the field on a hot and humid Monday evening at Century College separated by a single point.
The first half exhibited just how evenly matched the two teams were. Jogo Lento applied the early pressure and had a couple of great chances that were stopped by Iguanas keeper Jason Radatz. About halfway into the first half, it looked like Iguanas were going to break through after an excellent cross from Scott Hunter found Jeremy Winter behind the defense. But Winter's shot went directly into the Jogo Lento keeper's chest and the game remained scoreless.
About 35 minutes in, Iguanas were finally able to break the deadlock. Kerry Burns gathered the ball in the middle of the field, turned, and laid a perfectly paced pass to the feet of Josh Hanson. Hanson took a couple touches and fired a low shot into the left corner to give the hosts the lead. The remainder of the first half was more back-and-forth play but neither team could find a goal, leaving the halftime score at 1-0.
Iguanas started the second half by controlling more of the play and putting pressure on the ball whenever Jogo Lento had possession. It paid off around the 55th minute after a quick counterattack started by the Iguanas defense resulted in Brian Pearson finding Kevin Bonnema up a seam on the left side of the penalty area. Bonnema coolly snuck the ball just inside the left post to give Iguanas a 2-0 lead.
The second goal energized Iguanas as they started moving very well off the ball and connecting passes together. Jogo Lento threatened from time to time with long balls but Iguanas were quick to clean up the attacks. With about 20 minutes remaining, Iguanas seemed to put the game out of reach when Ryan Elling made a nice run up the right side and sent a perfect cross over the keeper toward Hanson. Before Hanson could get to the ball and tap it in, a Jogo Lento defender did the work for him and scored an own goal.
With a 3-0 lead late in the game, it looked like Iguanas were cruising to victory. But this is Iguanas--nothing comes easily.
Jogo Lento started dominating the middle of the field as Iguanas started just trying to hold onto their lead. It almost backfired. Jogo Lento got on the board with about 15 minutes left after several scrambles in front of the net. Iguanas finally couldn't clear the ball and one of their forwards put the ball just past Radatz's reach into the lower right corner.
Just minutes later, Joe Wieland bumped into a forward as he was turning in the penalty area. There wasn't much contact, but enough for the referee to call for a penalty kick. The player that was fouled converted from the spot and suddenly it was 3-2 in the waning moments.
The visitors desperately tried to find a late equalizer to salvage a point, but it was Iguanas that scored next to put the game away. Pearson won the ball on a pure hustle play along the right touch line and sprinted toward the corner with a full head of steam. He sent a pinpoint-accurate cross to Bonnema, who waited for the keeper to go down before chipping it into the upper right corner. Moments later, the final whistle sounded and Iguanas had secured another wild victory over Jogo Lento.
The season sweep of their tough opponents leaves Iguanas with a 6-2-2 record, good for second place in the Monday Division 2 table. Next week they visit the only team ahead of them in the standings: the 7-3-0 Minnesota Flying Loons. Iguanas will be looking for a repeat of their 2-1 victory over Flying Loons back in May.