The Emmaus men's soccer team played its second game of the weekend in Omaha, Nebraska against the Royals of Grace University. Coming off a tough last minute loss from the night before the Eagles were in search of an overall better showing. They got just that.
The Royals, who looked to knock the ball around early and looked dangerous, were consistently confronted by a stiff Emmaus defense. "Our guys did a great job getting numbers behind the ball," said Coach Brown, "which was something we have been really working to improve. Eagles keeper Rasmussen game up with a big save of his own in the 24th minute when Royal winger Drent (#1) found space in the middle and fired from close range.
Though slow to develop their attack, the Eagle offense began to take shape in the final minutes of the first half. In the 26th minute freshman Nick Fairley (#19) settled a ball in the middle and found teammate Gabe Salines (#5) who sidestepped a defender and fired a left footed shot at the corner that was scooped by Royal keeper Spencer Hoyt (#99). The half ended with goose eggs for scores and Emmaus outshooting the Royals 6-5.
The Eagles came out fired up in the second half and created some dangerous changes up top. The Royals, for their part, played a few counter attacks and were finally awarded in the 66th minute when an incidental handball in the Eagle box was called for a penalty. #10 Jacques stepped up and buried the penalty for the 1-0 lead.
The goal only served to fire up the Eagles as they continued to create great chances, sending in some dangerous crosses and winning several corners. The Eagle reserves played some crucial minutes with great energy and helped to keep the Eagle momentum. The Eagles came closest to equalizing in the 77th minute when Brandon Young (#13) fired a free kick that was only denied by a diving save from Hoyt. In the 80th minute another quality chance presented itself when Logan Matenaer (#7) played the ball over the top to Carson McBain (#11). Carson won the header just as the Royal keeper came out and caught him in the head with an open palm, no call. McBain was forced to come off the field with concussion-like symptoms as the Eagles still pushed for the equalizer. It was not to be, however, as Grace caught the Eagles slightly out of position and #1 Drent settled a ball over the top and managed to beat keeper Rasmussen to the left post. Despite a strong effort by the Eagles the 2-0 score line stuck.
"I was incredibly proud of the ways our guys handled themselves today. The guys kept their heads despite bearing the brunt of 23 fouls and for long portions of the match looked like the stronger team. There was no quit in our guys and when they settle in they can be really dangerous. Once again, I wish the score line was different, but I can't question the team effort of these young men today. I was glad to be coaching my side!" (Coach Brown)The Eagles will continue play next week in back to back conference matches versus Ozark and Calvary in Joplin and Kansas City, Missouri.