Gonzalez, Simonsen Score; Men's Soccer Captures 2-1 Victory

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ORANGE CITY, Iowa (August 30, 2013) -- Down 1-0 at halftime and withstanding a barrage from the Northwestern (Iowa) offense, the Golden Eagles netted back-to-back goals in the second half to come from behind and defeat the Red Raiders, 2-1, Friday (Aug. 30) night in Orange City on day one of the Pizza Ranch Classic.

Junior midfielder Martin Gonzalez and sophomore midfielder Eli Simonsen both broke through midway through the second half to hand John Brown (1-1-0) its first victory of the season. Simonsen also assisted on Gonzalez's strike.

"It was a hot, slow-paced game," said head coach Scott Marksberry. "We used 21 players today to deal with the heat, and it took us a long time to adjust to the Midwestern grass.

"I thought we played very passive in the first half and that showed on the scoreboard at halftime. We came out stronger in the second half and a few guys changed the game for us by the end. We will have to work on finishing games, though as Northwestern had us on our heels at the end of the game."

The Red Raiders (1-2-0) came out firing on starting keeper Matt Henry. Northwestern pieced together three consecutive shots in the first 10 minutes of the match, forcing the JBU defense on its heels and Henry to knock aside a shot to open play.

The Golden Eagles returned some pressure in the 11th minute as a Simonsen shot sailed wide. Minutes later John Brown earned its first corner kick as senior forward Luke Theimer had an opportunity on net off the ensuing service, challenging NWC netminder Austin Bosch to record his first save of the match.

John Brown then faced a four-minute span that featured three-straight shots by the Red Raiders, but Henry was up to the task again, knocking both aside that were on goal.

Nine minutes later, Northwestern found the scoreboard as Gabriel Goncalves netted his first of the season and seemingly allowed the scoreboard to reflect the disparity in shots the Golden Eagles faced to that point in the first half.

Entering the break, NWC held a 14-4 shot advantage over the visitors and a 3-1 lead in corner kicks. Although allowing the lone goal, Henry finished with five saves as he gave way to senior keeper Pablo Garcia for the second half.

Although allowing the first two shots against to start the half, it was only six minutes in that the Golden Eagles finally found the scoreboard. Streaking up the left side, Gonzalez was hauled down outside the box, setting up a free kick. Simonsen quickly set up the free kick and laid a lazy ball into the box for Gonzalez who ran into the shot, firing it past three defenders and the NWC netminder for the equalizing tally in the 51st minute.

With momentum finally on its side, John Brown continued to press. A sharp pass up the middle was cradled by freshman forward Marco Cardona, who was consequently shoved in the back setting up another Golden Eagle free kick outside the box.

At a much better angle than the first, Simonsen stepped up to take the kick like he did so many times a year ago. Instead of picking a top corner as is usually the custom, the Faroe Islands native tucked a hard shot to the bottom right side of the net, just inside the netminder's arm to give JBU a 2-1 advantage.

Northwestern had its best chance to force the second tie of the match in the 81st minute as Goncalves, seeking his second strike of the match, launched a ball from the left flank just outside the box. Garcia, which hadn't faced a shot on goal to that point in the second half, dove to his right, deflecting a ball tattooed for the top right corner past the far post, cementing John Brown's first victory of 2013.

The Red Raiders finished with a commanding 25-10 shot advantage and a 4-1 lead in corner kicks. Five cautions were assessed throughout the match as sophomore forward Zari Prescod, sophomore defender Aaron Estrada and Simonsen were each booked en route to the victory.

Garcia picked up the win in net, due to much help from his counterpart Henry.

John Brown will now look to finish its western Iowa sweep when it faces Dordt (Iowa) on Saturday (Aug. 31) at 1:00 p.m. The Defenders are currently 0-2-0 on the season.

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