A revamped roster and new socks kicked off season two for the Minnesota Axmen soccer team this past Sunday as they took on the General Mills Cheerios. To help with the cause, the Axmen would welcome seven new faces to the team in Goalie Brad Lawinger, Forward Jason Sorely, Mid-fielder(s) Marco Medina, Tudor Flintham, Roy LeFevbre, Josh Keen , and Defender Zach Boettcher. By match end, many of these seven new faces would play a very important role in the outcome.
As the game began, the Axmen was overflowing with confidence. They had the ball to begin with and would immediately begin attacking the O’s goal. This attacking mentality would soon disappear however as the O’s were able to withstand the initial onslaught and began to take control of the match early. With the wind at their backs, the O’s managed to put together multiple shots on goal to test Axmen goalkeeper Brad Lawinger early. Lawinger, however, was up to the task, keeping the Axmen in the game by turning away everything shot at him.
Thanks in large part to Lawinger’s cat like reflexes in net, the Axmen were able to settle down a bit and shake off the the early game jitters. They began to move the ball with a little more control down the field toward the O’s goal, gaining confidence with every pass. Once again however, this confidence was shattered as the O’s used some slick passing to beat the defenders and slot one in the back of the net. 1-0 Cheerios.
As the first half wore on , the Axmen would withstand a heavy attack by the O’s and soon counter with their own flurry of shots. The Axmen forwards would have multiple attempts but were unable to tickle the twine as their shots were high and or wide for most of the first half. Axmen Newcomer, Tudor Flintham, had the best opportunity to score in the first half as he was put in on goal all alone. Flintham was able to maneuver around the O’s keeper, only to see the ball pick up speed on the quick turf. He managed to catch up to the rolling rock at the endline and get off a shot that danced along the goal line, but never went in. Halftime with Axmen still trailing 1-0.
After some lively halftime strategy talk on the sidelines between the players, the Axmen came out swinging in the 2ndhalf and soon found a groove. The ball was moving much more fluidly and the Axmen began attacking the goal once again. To counter the surging Axmen, the O’s ramped up their physical play and began to dump Axmen players all over the field. The most vicious of which saw Axmen midfielder Dan Hassinger take a knee to the ribs. This physical play only strengthend the Axmen’s resolve to net the equalizer and it would come off the foot of Flintham who slotted one home after the team worked the ball deep into the O’s defensive third.
After the equalizer, the Axmen would have many more chances including two free kicks from 22 yds and 24 yds. Axmen defender, Roger Derham, took the first of the two free kicks and sent it high and wide. Flintham took the second free kick but the result was the same, no goal.
The flurry of activity stopped after the 2nd free kick and play settled in for both teams. After fighting hard for the entire match, both teams earned a well deserved tie, 1-1.
Next week is the Axmen home opener against BEEF! United @ STMA Middle School East. Kickoff is 6:30pm
Follow the Axmen all season long at www.MNaxmen.com