Gonzalez Nets Two, Golden Eagles Escape Oklahoma City With 3-2 Win at Mid-America Christian
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (November 3, 2012) - In a game that featured five first half-goals, John Brown (8-6-2) received a pair of tallies from Martin Gonzalez en route to a 2-0 victory over Mid-America Christian (Okla.) in the Sooner Athletic Conference quarterfinals this afternoon in Oklahoma City.
Gonzalez opened the scoring in the 6th minute as the sophomore attacker, with the wind at his back, unleashed a half volley from 30 yards out to beat the MACU keeper, handing JBU the 1-0 lead.
The lead would not stand long, however, as Mid-America's Duncan Mbugua beat a Golden Eagle defender before burying an open look at the net past keeper Pablo Garcia, knotting the score at one.
John Brown wouldn't allow the contest to remain tied for long. In the 20th minute, Gonzalez tacked on his second goal of the match, sending another long strike (20 yard) into the left side of the net after besting an Evangel defender in a one-versus-one situation.
"We really had a will to win today," admitted Gonzalez. "I wanted to do everything possible to make sure we advanced. It was such a battle today and the intensity grew as the game progressed."
JBU was then able to create a bit of breathing room when freshman Zari Prescod netted his team-leading sixth goal of the season in the 25th minute.
Only after Mid-America (9-6-2) was able to draw the score to 3-2 just over 10 minutes later would the offensive show put on by both teams then begin to wind down.
Both teams combined for 18 shots in the first half (9-9) as both keepers were able to make three saves headed into the break. The Evangels held a 3-2 advantage in corner kicks in the first 45 minutes of play.
The second half was all Mid-America as the Evangels fought to prolong its postseason life. MACU fired 15 shots in Garcia's direction throughout the second half. The junior keeper was able to collect four saves in four opportunities when called upon.
John Brown narrowly missed regaining a two-goal advantage in the 56th minute when Gonzalez, vying for the hattrick, rang a shot past the MACU keeper off the post, keeping the score at 3-2.
Despite a heroic performance by Garcia, the JBU netminder was the recipient of a bit of luck when a Mid-America shot rattled the crossbar with just under four minutes left to play. Chris Soenksen was the first man to the loose ball which had settled on the goal line, clearing it out of harm's way and preserving the John Brown victory.
"We played a very hard game and we fought for a full 90 minutes against a team full of great offensive player," Garcia reflected. "The defense and David (Castagne) did a tremendous job of clearing everything out of the box.
"I'm so thankful we are still alive and fighting, for each other and for Christ. We are also extremely grateful to the passionate fans who made their way to Oklahoma City today."
Garcia finished the match with seven saves, tying his second-best single-game total of the season. He posted a season-high eight saves in a 1-0 loss against Benedictine (Kan.) on Sept. 15.
"The first half was a real barn-burner today," said head coach John Miglarese. "There were five really nice goals scored. Our three goals were simply fantastic. Fortunately, we were able to weather the storm in the second half. We could have made it 4-2 but Martin's (Gonzalez) shot found the post instead of the back of the net.
"Mid-America was very prepared for us today. The postseason comes down to conditioning, tactical play and discipline. Thankfully, we did a good job at those things today and were able to survive their push late in the match."
The undefeated regular season conference champion and current NAIA No. 3 Drovers of Arts and Sciences (Okla.) was upended earlier today by the No. 8 team in the conference, Oklahoma City, in penalty kicks. This results in home field advantage for the Golden Eagles in the conference tournament semifinals.
The semifinals will feature a rematch of the two teams that met just seven days ago when JBU knocked off Oklahoma City, 1-0, at Alumni Field on Oct. 27. The game is slated for Tuesday (Nov. 6) and a 2:00 p.m. kick-off.