Game Recap By Don Gilmore, TMU Assistant Sports Editor
There’s a reason why Jim Rickard schedules tough, non-conference opponents.
He wants to ready his club for conference play and the postseason.
Sometimes, though, the results aren’t what he likes.
Like what happened on Tuesday when Florida National University spotted The Master’s two first-half goals and then scored four unanswered goals spanning both halves to post a 4-2 win over the Mustangs on Reese Field.
“That’s the best team I’ve played in a long while,” Rickard said. “They were superior technically with experience and maturity to burn. I know scheduling them was going to show us what a top-four NAIA team looks like and they did not disappoint.”
The defeat was the Mustangs’ first at home this season and dropped the club to 7-2 overall.
The Conquistadors, who won’t join the NAIA officially until the 2019-20 athletic season, were stunned early when TMU scored twice in the match’s first 19 minutes.
With just 6:43 gone, junior midfielder Dylan Bielanski scored off assists from Trevor Mangan and Benji Tembo. It was Bielanski’s second game-opening goal in the last three matches and was his fourth of the season.
Just over 12 minutes later, the Mustangs doubled their lead when Mangan scored on assists from Tembo and Luis Garcia Sosa. It was the senior forward’s third goal in two games and gave him a team-high six for the season.
“I was proud of the boys to get two nice, early goals,” Rickard said. “But, over the course of the game, their (Florida National’s) experience won the day.”
Rocked back on their heels as they were, the Conquistadors did not panic.
They recovered to halve the deficit on a Maximiliano Schenfeld score in the 30th minute and evened the score just under four minutes later when Rodrigo Costa scored.
Costa would be heard from again. And again.
In the 66th minute, the senior midfielder scored in unassisted fashion to put the Conquistadors up for good.
Then, with the match still in the balance, Costa capped off a sensational effort with an insurance goal in the 86th minute for a hat-trick.
The Conquistadors’ performance wasn’t lost on Rickard.
“They’ve lost one game in the last two years and proved to be too much for us to handle,” he said.
Here’s the box score.
The Mustangs will have a chance to rebound quickly as they welcome Bethesda to Reese Field on Thursday for a 4 p.m. match.