Mustangs rally past Eagles
DENVER –– The most unsafe lead in soccer is two goals. Just ask Lincoln Charter.
Garrett Reavis had a goal and an assist, and Brett Shanklin added two assists as East Lincoln scored three unanswered goals in the second half to top the Eagles 3-2 on Monday in the teams’ only non-conference matchup this season.
Lincoln Charter (1-2-1) looked well on its way to handing the Mustangs (3-0) their first loss of the season when Zach Allen weaved his way in and out of traffic for an unassisted goal and a 2-0 lead just over two minutes into the second half. But the Eagles never threatened again as East Lincoln took control of a match it appeared destined to lose.
“The most unsafe lead in soccer is 2-0,” Lincoln Charter coach Dane Perry said. “We stopped playing physical at that point, and East Lincoln made us pay.”
The way Allen carved his way through the Mustangs’ defense was indicative to how their first half went.
East Lincoln had only two shots on goal in the first 40 minutes, and its defense allowed the Eagles to control possession. They struck a little over five minutes in when Noah Brock sent a ball flying from the far sideline towards the net on an attempted pass. But instead of finding a teammate, the ball found the corner of the net for the early 1-0 lead.
Lincoln Charter came out attacking in the second half, and with 37:57 to play the Mustangs received a wake-up call.
Jose Zavala scored on an assist from Reavis exactly one minute later, and 12 minutes later Riley Stein scored on a pass from Shanklin to tie it at 2.
With everything suddenly going East Lincoln’s way and nothing going right for the Eagles, Shanklin sent a ball into the box to a wide-open Stein. Stein’s shot ricocheted off the left post and right to Reavis, who punched it in from 2 feet away for the 3-2 lead.
Neither team got off another shot, as the Mustangs played keep away with their passing the rest of the way.
“I’m happy with the guys for never quitting,” East Lincoln coach Jason Dragoon said. “We weren’t doing the things we need to do in order to win in the first half, but after we got down 2-0 the guys started playing the way they’re capable of.”
The win was the third in a row for the Mustangs, who knocked off Marshville Forest Hills 6-0 on Saturday.
They’ve enjoyed a good run since knocking off state-ranked Shelby 1-0 in their season opener –– the win was the first time East Lincoln had ever beaten the Golden Lions in soccer –– but today’s match should tell it just how good it really is.
East Lincoln hosts perennial 1A powerhouse Community School of Davidson –– from Lincoln Charter’s conference –– at 6:30 p.m. today looking for a 4-0 start and another impressive non-conference win.
If the Mustangs are to get to 4-0, Dragoon feels his team must play smarter than it did against the Eagles.
“We’re going to have to pass better and more often –– not try to beat people 1-versus-1,” he said. “We were fortunate to come away with a win against a really good Lincoln Charter team.”
As for the Eagles, who travel to Maiden today, they were left wondering what could have happened –– and what did happen.
“We’ve got to learn to play more physical,” Perry said. “We’re small in size, but we’re going to have to make up for it by playing physical.”