Senior midfielder Juan Farres and senior forward Albert Rodriguez broke a scoreless halftime score with two early second half goals to propel the No. 2 Midwestern State men's soccer team to a 2-0 victory over rival West Texas A&M in a Highway 287 Challenge match Thursday evening at The Pitch in Canyon.
"It was a good game. We're happy to get a 2-0 result," said head coach Doug Elder. "It wasn't our best game but we played well at times and positioned ourselves well defensively. This team hasn't been shutout much this year, and it was nice for the defense to step up. I thought Brice (Gardner) played well in goal and Call (Casarez) and Javan (Toledo) were solid. The defense as a whole played well."
In the 53rd minute, Farres put Midwestern State (13-0-1) out in front with the eventual game-winner on a shot from the right side of the pitch. Junior midfielder Flavio Guzman fed Farres the ball and he found the lower right corner of the net with his fourth score of the season.
Just eight minutes later, Rodriguez netted his team-best 15th goal of the season to give the Mustangs a cushion at 2-0 in the 61st minute. Junior midfielder Leon Taylor delivered the ball to Rodriguez before he dribbled past the West Texas A&M (9-6-0) defense on the right side of the box and sent a shot towards the left post.
The Mustangs defense was superb Thursday night, not only recording their sixth shutout of the season but limiting the Buffs to just two shots on goal. The Mustangs outshot WT 13-11 and placed 11 of those shots on target.
While being held scoreless in the first half, the Mustangs did string together several scoring opportunities throughout the period. Midwestern placed four of its first five shots on goal in the first 25 minutes of play with two coming off corner kicks from senior defender Ben Clarvis.
Following their two goals, the Mustangs offense continued to stay aggressive while attempting to hold off a WT rally. The Buffs were able to get inside the box several times in the second period but the Mustangs defense wouldn't allow many good looks as junior forward Chris Johnson was the lone Buff able to get a shot on goal in the final 45 minutes of play.
Rodriguez placed all five of his shots on goal to lead the Mustangs while senior defender Javan Toledo finished with two shots, both on goal.
Sophomore goalkeeper Brice Gardner (4-0-0) recorded his third clean sheet in four appearances, having allowed just one goal this season.
Having wrapped up its final road contest of the regular season, the Mustangs return to MSU Soccer Field for a 7 p.m. kickoff Monday against UT-Permian Basin.