Game Recap By Don Gilmore, TMU Assistant SID
The Master’s University men’s soccer team knew the implications.
A win at Ottawa University Arizona in the regular-season finale Saturday would vault the Mustangs into a second-place finish in the GSAC and guarantee a first-round bye in the conference tournament that starts next week.
A loss and the Mustangs would have to play a first-round match.
So, when they needed their biggest win of the season to date, they turned to a reliable duo.
Trevor Mangan and Benji Tembo (pictured above).
The seniors came up big, scoring a goal apiece to lead the Mustangs over the Spirit 2-1.
“Ottawa was a formidable opponent,” said TMU head coach Jim Rickard. “We are very excited to be leaving Arizona with a victory.”
The Mustangs’ fifth win in a row gave them a 6-2 record in the GSAC and a 14-4 mark overall.
As they had done so many times during the 2018 campaign, the Mustangs scored early to shift the momentum in their favor.
Mangan, taking a pass from Luis Garcia Sosa, left-footed one past Spirit goalie Yuri Nascimento into the near corner of the net with 9:06 gone in the opening half.
It was Mangan’s team-leading 10th goal of the season. He would hold on to that spot for only a little while.
The Mustangs would hold the lead for the rest of the match.
A tireless defense and Tembo made sure.
Although Ottawa held a 7-5 shot advantage in the first half, the Mustangs kept them off the board.
TMU keeper Matheus Taraszkiewicz recorded three of his seven saves in the opening stanza.
He was much busier in the second half, but Tembo gave him and the club some breathing room.
In the 65th minute, the senior All-American received a perfect pass from Mangan and one-timed it past Nascimento to the bottom right post.
With that goal, Tembo tied Mangan for the team lead in goals.
It was only fitting the two would be club leaders.
Tembo’s goal proved to be the game-winner because Ottawa halved the deficit in the waning moments, scoring on a header with 3:50 left.
“We had to be very organized to keep Ottawa from scoring,” said Rickard. “A late breakdown put the win in jeopardy.”
TMU survived that and held on.
“I’m proud of the team to battle all regular season to earn the second seed,” Rickard said. “Now, we need to focus on preparing for our next opponent.”
Here’s the box score.
That will be determined next Saturday when four clubs (William Jessup, Arizona Christian, Westmont, and Menlo) battle in the GSAC Tournament’s first round. Master’s will play the highest remaining seed in a semifinal on either Nov. 8 or 9. The game will be at Orange County Great Park.