Grantham, PA – Shoemaker field had a perfect look under the evening lights, and the stands were full as Messiah men’s soccer played their first home game of the 2011 season. And, as many have come to expect from the Falcons on their home turf, the home team won.
#2 Messiah overcame an early goal from Catholic University to defeat the Cardinals on Saturday night, with the score ending 2-1. Senior Derek Back’s first goal of the season was the game winner in the 53rd minute.
The way the game started, it didn’t seem like the fans would have to wait even that long for the lead. The Falcons launched five shots on goal in the game’s first 10 minutes, totaling nine shots in the half. Catholic, however, responded to the early pressure with some attacking of their own. Sophomore Earl Hamilton, the Cardinal’s leader in points on the young season, found his way through the Falcons’ defense on the right side for a near-post finish in the 26th minute.
Moments later, the Cardinals again were on the attack on the top of the box. This time, the Messiah defense managed to control the possession for a quick look up to the field to freshman Jack Thompson. Thompson’s shot on goal was blocked, but rebounded back to him where he found his older brother, senior Danny Thompson, for the Falcons’ first goal. The score tied the game 1-1 in the 28th minute.
The teams would play even into the half, with Messiah’s nine shots leading the Cardinal’s four.
In the second half, Messiah would control possession and keep the pressure on the Catholic defense. Black’s goal would come on an assist from Danny Thompson, as his pass was slotted to the right side in perfect position for Black’s chip over the charging goalie.
Though the Cardinals played aggressively for the remainder of the contest, they would total only three shots in the second half.
“We were disappointed to give up the early goal,” said Messiah head coach Brad McCarty. “But we responded well. Our second goal was a counter-attack, so it was good to see us respond to the pressure Catholic was putting on our defense. They’re a talented team, and played with good pace tonight.”
Messiah’s pace proved to be just a little better. Danny Thompson’s goal was his third on the season, the second straight game he’s scored off an assist from his brother Jack. Added together with Black’s score, and it was a win for the Falcons under the lights of Grantham.
Victories on Shoemaker are trending, as Messiah improved to 97-5-4 on their home field since the start of the 2003 season. Still, McCarty knows this team has improvement’s to make.
“We’re playing OK right now,” said the Falcons’ leader. “We’re not ‘special’ just yet, but we know what work we need to do and we’ll continue to press into it.”
The Falcons next play on Wednesday, September 14 when they play host to Gettysburg College. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m.