In an emotional and physical match between two nationally-ranked programs, the 20th-ranked Midwestern State men's soccer team scored three second half goals to break a 1-1 tie and record a 4-1 victory Sunday over No. 4 Colorado Mesa at MSU Soccer Field.
"It was a big win today," said head coach Doug Elder. "It was a little testy, but that's happened every time we've played them. We had some hard tackles on both sides but we kept our composure."
The win came after Midwestern's 1-0 defeat to CMU that eliminated the Mustangs from the NCAA Tournament a season ago. The Mustangs' victory also gave Elder his 221st win at Midwestern, tying his former coach Howard Patterson as the all-time winningest coach in program history. The Mustangs could get Elder his milestone win as early as Thursday when they host Southern Nazarene (Okla.) at 7 p.m. at MSU Soccer Field.
"It's a testament to a lot of great kids, assistant coaches and administrators," Elder said. "I'm excited and happy to reach that milestone if I'm lucky enough next week."
The Mustangs (2-0-0) offense was on point throughout the entire match Sunday, finishing with a 23-6 advantage in shots with 13 coming on goal.
"Playing physical, playing quick and controlling tempo is part of our game," Elder said. "We defend hard. We defend in numbers and with pace and character."
Five minutes after the Mavericks (0-1-1) netted the equalizer in the 51st minute, senior midfielder Juan Farres delivered a ball into the box before Rodriguez scored his second goal of the day to put MSU up 2-1.
The Mustangs kept the Mavericks from evening up the contest again, adding two more goals in the final 10 minutes of regulation.
Senior defender Call Casarez netted the Mustangs' third goal with a header off a corner kick from junior midfielder Flavio Guzman in the 83rd minute for a 3-1 contest.
Midwestern finished off the Mavericks with a goal from Farres with three minutes to play. Junior forward Christian Okeke sent the ball into the box where sophomore midfielder/forward Laurence Chamberlain passed it over to Farres on the left side for the score.
It was a physical start to the game with seven of the 15 first half fouls being whistled in the first 15 minutes of action.
In the second minute, Rodriguez almost gave the Mustangs an early advantage, but his shot just missed the net by hitting the left post.
Rodriguez later put the Mustangs on top 1-0 in the 32nd minute by converting a penalty kick after junior midfielder/forward Leon Taylor was fouled in the middle of the box.
Rodriguez finished with six shots, three on target, while Casarez placed three of his four shots on goal for the Mustangs.
Junior goalkeeper Noah Fazekas (2-0-0) earned the win for MSU, collecting two saves and allowing one goal.