GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – A game that saw a momentum shift from the first to second halves after a one-hour weather delay still saw the Green Bay men’s soccer team pick up the win as it held on for a 2-1 triumph over Western Illinois on Saturday afternoon at Santaga Stadium.
It was all Phoenix from the onset, as the home team came out and set the tone for the match. Controlling possession in the opening minutes, Sam Krenzien (Wauwatosa, Wis.) saw the first quality opportunity to score six minutes in after he was taken down just inches outside the box. Krenzien set up the free kick opportunity on the play, but sent the ball just over the goal. Less than a minute later Jordan Dover (Ontario, Canada) saw an opportunity squandered as his header was collected by WIU keeper Yves Dietrich.
Maintaining the offensive pressure, Sabastian Xiong (Cottage Grove, Wis.) put a header on goal and Krenzien followed with another challenge forcing Dietrich to make yet another save in the 24th minute. Green Bay was finally able to capitalize on its opportunities with two quick-strike goals in the 26th and 28th minutes to go up 2-0. Tyler Swanner (Glen Carbon, Ill.) put one on frame first, settling a pass from Lawrence Talery (Coon Rapids, Minn.) and sending it past the right side of the keeper for his first collegiate goal. Talery had a hand in the second goal as well, collecting a loose ball and chipping it to Krenzien, who headed it home directly in front of Dietrich.
It was a strong half for the Phoenix defense as well as the squad led in shots, 12-4, including 6-1 on goal.
Returning to the pitch for the second half, five minutes passed on the clock before the match was delayed for lightning in the area. After a one-hour delay, momentum switched to the visiting team when play resumed as the Leathernecks regrouped and came out strong. Outshooting Green Bay 9-7 in the second stanza, the game grew tense in the closing minutes as WIU was able to put several shots on goal, testing keeper Kyle Ihn (Wales, Wis.).
With less than two minutes remaining, Krenzien sent the ball back toward his own keeper from midfield and under pressure from the Leathernecks, Ihn picked up the ball. Immediately called for a foul to stop the clock, WIU set up for a free kick from eight yards out. Erick Bloom tapped the ball on the indirect and Husref Jupic sent it toward the net, hitting the crossbar before it bounced in to pull the visitors to within a goal, 2-1.
Chippy play remained in the closing minute, but the Phoenix maintained its composure to hold on for the win and remain unbeaten on the season, 2-0-1.
A tale of two halves still saw the Phoenix control shots, 19-13, while corners ended even at four apiece.
Green Bay returns to action on Monday, hosting Viterbo at 4 p.m.
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