A 2-0 win against Colorado Christian wasn’t everything the Fort Lewis College men’s soccer team wanted Friday.
The Skyhawks thought the winning margin should have been larger against the last-place team in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado Christian (1-14, 1-10 RMAC), but goals from Sean Cleary and Tamino Kroeger were still good enough to get the result needed.
“Colorado Christian, obviously expectations are higher than 2-0,” said Kroeger, a senior from Germany. “But I think we kept the ball well. We can be satisfied after clearly dominating offensively.”
FLC (8-6-1, 7-3-1 RMAC) outshot the Cougars 29-5 and 15-2 in the first half, when both Skyhawks goals were scored.
After several premium chances, the Skyhawks finally finished when Cleary got his head on a corner kick from Raul Pescador. Cleary, an All-RMAC defender, directed the ball low and into the left corner of goal to beat CCU goalkeeper Brandon Eide, who made nine big saves in the match. Cleary’s 13th-minute goal was his second of the season.
Kroeger added the second goal in the 43rd minute when he found the ball at the top of the box. He let go a shot that bounced in front of a sprawling Eide and found the back of the net for his fifth goal of the season.
“We ended up with quite a few shots in the first half,” FLC head coach David Oberholtzer said. “We want to be able to put a few more in, get a little bit more dangerous, but we were under control the majority of the game.”
Play became quite chippy in the second half, especially after FLC’s Thomas de Faria was given a card for pushing a forearm into the head of a CCU player, who was grabbing onto his legs after a play. The FLC freshman was given a yellow card and briefly checked out of the game. The Cougars accumulated three yellow cards in the next three minutes, including two to Christian Redin, leading to a red card and his ejection from the game. De Faria checked back in and was later accused by Colorado Christian players of hitting a Cougars player below the belt.
The game calmed down for the final five minutes and wound down to the 2-0 result.
“People start asking for the referee every time there is contact,” Oberholtzer said. “It’s going to be a physical game, and those things happen. We just have to make sure we’re composed and focused on the task at hand.”
Players have continued to improve under Oberholtzer’s 4-4-2 formation, which Kroeger called very different from the 4-5-1 under previous head coach Oige Kennedy. Oberholtzer continues to see his team improve each match, and said it is made easier by the amount of young offensive talent on the roster.
“We’re all really close together, and it doesn’t matter who plays,” Kroeger said.
“You see it on the bench. We love each other and are having a good time out there.”
The Skyhawks will be ready for a big showdown Sunday against Colorado Mines in the final home match of the year on Dirks Field. Colorado Mines (8-4-3, 7-2-2 RMAC) sits fourth in the conference standings, and FLC is fifth. The two teams tied 2-2 last week.
“The last three regular-season games we tied,” Kroeger said of the matchup. “Time to go get a win.”