East Grand Forks strikes early and often in 6-0 win over Crookston
The cliche of all cliches, in sports where teams score one at a time, is that the most dangerous lead is two goals. Tuesday, Crookston boys' soccer had a chance to show East Grand Forks the saying was true.
With five minutes left in the first half, senior Jacob Miller picked up the ball along the right sideline and dropped a quick throw-in over an unsuspecting Green Wave defender's head. Jack Garmen got on the end of it and immediately chipped towards goal. The shot was on target and over the goalie's head.
It bounced off the crossbar.
East Grand Forks cleared the rebound and ultimately, did go into halftime with a 2-0 lead, which it wasted no time extending. Yahya Mohamed scored three minutes after the break, and the Green Wave pulled away to spoil the cliche and the Pirates' regular-season finale, 6-0, Tuesday afternoon at the Crookston soccer fields.
"That's soccer," said coach Lon Boike. "Things happen, you just gotta play through it, but (Garmen's near-miss) certainly would have made a difference going into the second half."
At the time of Garmen's shot, the Pirates actually had most of the momentum. East Grand Forks' two goals came early — very early — Yahye Ismail volleyed home a cross 28 seconds into the game, and Mohamed found the net five minutes later on a long shot that senior goalkeeper Kaleb Thingelstad misjudged.
"Wind did something goofy with it and snuck it in underneath the goal," Boike said. "But I think we just didn't come out with the energy we needed."
Crookston settled in, though, and began pushing back into the Green Wave's zone in about the 20th minute. While the Pirates didn't generate any clear-cut scoring chances aside from Garmen's chip, Boike thought they had confidence going into halftime, where he stressed the importance of scoring first out of the gates.
It didn't happen. Ismail followed up Mohamed's second goal in the 52nd minute, and Tommy Ellis scored on a 70th-minute penalty kick to better the margin from the last time the two rivals played. Mustafe Mowlid capped off the scoring three minutes later.
"We're putting together long stretches where we're playing better and better," Boike said. "But we can't give up those, like two goals in a short amount of time. It's just a downer. If we can just eliminate some of those things, even if it's just one goal, and keep ourselves in the game, we can make something happen for ourselves."
Crookston's regular season is over at 2-8, with just three practices separating the Pirates from their first game of the Section 8A Tournament. And for Boike, the focus remains the same — how to bridge the gap evident Tuesday; between merely competing and actually winning.
"It seems like we're always a step short or a pass just slightly off or six inches off the crossbar," Boike said. "Those little things can make a big difference in a match. ... If we start to make some of those things happen, we can be a pretty good team."
UP NEXT: The Pirates now wait to find out their first-round playoff opponent. The match will take place Monday, Oct. 13.
Crookston is currently sixth in the North Division standings, which would seemingly put them in line to play Detroit Lakes (5-4), in third place. Boike thinks the Lakers — who beat the Pirates on Sept. 8 and Sept. 22 — are the most likely opponent as well.
The seedings will likely be released sometime Wednesday.
- 0:28: Yahye Ismail (East Grand Forks) assist Yahya Mohamed
- 5:11: Yahya Mohamed (East Grand Forks)
- 43:22: Yahya Mohamed (East Grand Forks)
- 51:41: Yahye Ismail (East Grand Forks) assist Hamse Ismail
- 69:14: Tommy Ellis (East Grand Forks) (penalty kick)
- 73:32: Mustafe Mowlid (East Grand Forks) assist Tanner Lubinski
- Crookston: Kaleb Thingelstad 8 saves (4 first half, 4 second)
- East Grand Forks: Cayden Clarke 1 save (1 first half, 0 second)
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