Bobcats' second-half flurry falls short to Polar Bears – Marshalltown Times Republican

Apr 3, 2024
T-R PHOTO BY JAKE RYDER – Marshalltown midfielder Diego Tejada (14) dribbles across midfield in front of Des Moines North’s Cristiano Abutu (15) during Tuesday’s soccer match at Leonard Cole Field.
A thrilling second half ended with Marshalltown boys soccer on the short end of a 5-4 tangle with Des Moines North at Leonard Cole Field on Tuesday night.
Trailing 2-0 at halftime, Marshalltown tied the game within the first 10 minutes of the second half, then gave up three goals to North in the next 20 minutes, including two within 60 seconds of each other, only for the Bobcats to fire back with two goals and nearly come up with the equalizer before time ran out.
“Let me catch my breath,” MHS head coach Scott Johannes said. “Wow, to be that close after we put ourselves in a pretty good hole. … These guys just never gave up. They really came back and battled, and that was fun to watch.”
The Bobcats (0-4) looked like they’d draw first blood with an aggressive showing on their offensive half, but it was North that struck first 18 minutes in on a Cristiano Abutu tally that the Bobcats couldn’t properly clear out of their end. Magok Mangok added a goal off a North corner kick for the 2-0 Polar Bears advantage at halftime.
Johannes was concerned that the Bobcats only managed one shot at the North net in the first 40 minutes.
T-R PHOTO BY JAKE RYDER – Marshalltown senior Alberto Zamago (7) dribbles past Des Moines North defender Roberto Saucedo on the attack during the first half of Tuesday’s soccer match at Leonard Cole Field.
“You can’t win if you don’t shoot, and we wanted to have some more shots than that,” Johannes added.
MHS regrouped to start the second half and started finding those opportunities – Erik Ibarra Madrigal chipped a ball over the North keeper seven minutes into the second half and the Bobcats got a penalty kick on a hard tackle in the box moments later with Aaron Ordaz Zambrano doing the honors to tie it at 2-all.
“We were just doing what we’ve been asking the guys to work on all along,” Johannes said. “We moved the ball rather than playing long ball, we trusted our teammates and moved to where we needed to be.”
The Bobcats surrendered a heartbreaker less than 10 minutes later, trying to clear a ball out of their defensive zone but instead ricocheting the ball into their own net.
Ari Herrera was just offsides on an equalizer for the Bobcats, and then matters went from bad to worse as North scored twice in 17 seconds, including another goal helped by errant Bobcat defending.
“We have to make sure we’re shifting from left to right and not getting too high,” Johannes said. “It’s a delicate dance. We got some good saves from our goalie tonight [Cristian Ibarra Alvarado] that we’ve been missing, but none of those guys back there started on defense last year. This is their fourth game together and it’s nice to see how they pick each other up.”
The resiliency was quickly on display for the Bobcats, immediately going back on the offensive to try and make up ground and catching a break as a North player was sent off with a red card to give the Bobcats a man advantage for the final nine minutes of the game.
Immediately, Andres Chavarria Garcia banged in the resulting free kick from the red card from 20 yards out to make it 5-3, and five minutes later Alberto Zamago used his head to get the ‘Cats within 5-4.
MHS had a corner kick and a free kick just outside the left side of the box in the final two minutes, but couldn’t put anything on net in the final moments.
Still, Johannes was encouraged to see the Bobcats fight and hope that carries over into Friday’s home tilt with Fort Dodge.
“It seems like we’ve historically been a second half team,” Johannes said. “But I want this to be a turning point for us where we take this into Friday’s game with Fort Dodge. That’s the team we wanted in the first half.”

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