It took the Marshalltown Community College soccer team just 2 minutes to score its first goal Saturday against No. 5 Iowa Western.
But it was the minutes in between that first goal and the last goal that doomed the Tigers at home against the ICCAC rival Reivers.
"Iowa Western is a good team, and they don't need our help," MCC coach Rafael Martinez said. "We are good enough to play with this team, but we beat ourselves in a lot of ways today."
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
MCC captain Javier Lopez, left, scored the Tigers’ first goal of Saturday’s men’s soccer match against Iowa Western, but the fifth-ranked Reivers claimed a 3-2 win.
Martinez said he was proud of the way his team played in a 3-2 loss, but also felt like his Tigers were prepared enough to knock off a nationally ranked foe.
"I have been telling the guys this season that we can play with teams like this," Martinez said. "Today, we moved away from our plan. We left some guys unmarked and we put the ball where we shouldn't have put it."
The Reivers (11-0-1) scored three goals on just three shots on goal in the match. MCC had five shots on goal, but Iowa Western out-shot the Tigers, 9-7.
The Tigers came out on fire in the early going, scoring in the second minute as Javier Lopez tapped in a brilliant pass by Bruno Liozzi off a free kick.
Unfortunately though for the Tigers, they could not hold the momentum. After MCC goalkeeper Alfredo Piedra made a diving save, and the Tiger defense withstood two corner kicks, the Reivers got on the board in the 35th minute.
The most disappointing goal of the day given up by the Tigers came with just 1 minute to go in the first half. That tally by the Reivers gave them a 2-1 lead at the break.
The first half featured plenty of physical play from both sides and a certain amount of contact also was allowed. In the second half, the referee called a much tighter game, which was an adjustment for the players.
"The official did a nice job in the game, and he had nothing to do with us losing today," Martinez said. "But we were just unable to get away with the contact we both got away with in the first half. The guys just didn't adjust to the change very well."
The match featured six yellow cards and one red card. MCC was flagged for four yellows and Liozzi was sent off in the 68th minute following his second yellow card of the day.
The Tigers played a man down in the final 22 minutes, and Liozzi will be unable to play in MCC's next contest.
"We should not have gotten a red card in this game," Martinez said. "We couldn't afford to play a man down against the fifth-ranked team in the nation. That makes it much tougher for us."
Iowa Western appeared to put the finishing touches on the win in the 85th minute as the Reivers scored with the man advantage.
However, MCC (8-4-1) got back to within a one-goal deficit in the 87th minute as freshman Andrew Valett sent a beautiful pass to the center of the field and sophomore Joao de Olivera headed it past the Iowa Western keeper.
The Tigers had a few more chances for the equalizer but couldn't find the back of the net in the final 3 minutes.
"We can compete with a team like this," Martinez said. "We spent a lot of time preparing for this match and we were successful when the guys did what we prepared for. We knew how to play them and it showed."
Piedra made four saves in the match for the Tigers.
The Tigers are now 6-2 in ICCAC play, while Iowa Western stays unbeaten at 7-0. MCC will next play Hawkeye Community College at 4 p.m. Tuesday.