After teams traded early-half scores, Mexico prevailed 4-3 in post-OT shootout for 2-1 prep soccer triumph in Chillicothe Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — Although it required a post-overtime penalty-kicks shootout, the Mexico (Mo.) HS Bulldogs claimed a boys’ soccer match from the host Chillicothe Hornets Saturday afternoon (Oct. 19, 2019), 2-1.
The newly-crowned Midland Empire Conference champion hosts didn’t score in the last 93-plus minutes of regulation time and sudden-victory overtime before Mexico outscored them 4-3 in the penalty-kicks shootout after 100 minutes of normal competition failed to decide things.
After each team’s goalkeeper denied the opponent’s opening try in the shootout, MHS senior netminder Riley Given also stopped Chillicothe’s second attempt. When the second Bulldogs attempt found its mar, Chillicothe was placed in catch-up mode.
Even though the last three Hornets to take shots from the penalty-kick spot drilled their attempts home, it never really did. Caleb Vance’s successful do-or-die shot to start the fifth round kept CHS hopes alive, tying the shootout at 3-3, but Jeffrey Haines – whose point-blank goal only 40 seconds into the second half had forged the tie that held through the last 59-plus minutes – won it with a hip-high shot off the right hand or arm of Chillicothe sophomore goalkeeper Jaxon Albertson just as the goalkeeper leaned to his left in anticipation of Haines going that direction.
While Chillicothe generated the best scoring chances of the two 10-minutes overtime segments, but didn’t convert them, victory ultimately was claimed by the squad which carried the play most of the regulation 80 minutes.
The host Hornets put Mexico in come-from-behind position early when sophomore Drake Cosgrove deposited his sixth goal of 2019 – second-most on the team, breaking a tie with Chace Corbin – in the south goal of Jerry Litton Memorial Stadium II in the sixth minute, but managed few serious challenges to Given the next 70 minutes.
CHS nursed its slim lead to halftime, barely reprieved twice – once by goalkeeper Albertson and once by an assistant referee.
Inside the first 20 minutes of play, one of the multiple Mexico assaults on the CHS goal resulted in the Hornets sending the ball beyond the end line, giving the Bulldogs a corner kick from the offensive right side.
That kick was delivered hard and about head-high toward the goalie’s box. Near the left goalpost (from the defensive perspective), a MHS player jumped and got a foot or leg on the ball from only about five yards away from the goal line. The mid-air shot zipped toward the net at high velocity, but found Albertson not only in its way, but having reflexes quick enough to get his arms up to repel the ball away from the goal for perhaps his best career save to date.
That didn’t end the danger as, still within the 7-yards deep ’keeper’s box, another Mexico player had the ball come to him on the bounce. As he triggered a rebound shot, an unidentified Chillicothe defender stepped between him and the goal and blocked that try, sending the ball high and farther from the goal, as well as off to the side a bit. Another extended scramble for control ensued, but this time, after several tries, the Hornets finally got the ball sent ahead toward midfield, forcing the Bulldogs to regroup.
While the visitors continued to have the edge in ball-possession time and attack time, as the last minute of the opening half arrived with Chillicothe still on top 1-0 and the ball in the neutral part of the pitch. However, the Hornets weren’t out of the woods yet.
A Mexico player moved up quickly to get to a loose ball just on the CHS defensive side of midfield and chipped the ball into the air over the heads of the Hornets’ defensive backfield and a couple of Bulldogs about halfway toward the CHS goal. When it landed, the two Mexico players arrived first and, a second or two later, had drilled the ball into the Chillicothe net, seemingly tying the match 1-1 in the 40th minute of the half.
However, to Chillicothe fans’ relief, the sideline official for that end of the field had his infraction flag raised, signalling that at least one of the MHS players had not had any Hornet other than Albertson between himself and the goal when the ball was kicked out near midfield. That meant an offside violation and no goal.
Even though the 10-minutes intermission interceded, in terms of actual elapsed match time, the CHS reprieve was very short-lived.
Within seconds of the start of the second half, the ball was sent deep into the CHS end of the pitch, where it had been repeatedly in the first 40 minutes. This time, however, the Hornets didn’t escape unscathed.
From the offensive left side, the ball was centered into the Chillicothe goalmouth area once more, this time finding its way to the foot of Haines near the left goalpost, where he knocked it in for the equalizer barely 40 seconds into the half and less than two minutes after the nullified would-be game-tying tally.
Mexico continued to carry the play to Chillicothe throughout the bulk of the second half until less than 15 minutes remained, at which point the Hornets began creating some scoring threats.
In the 66th minute, Cosgrove had an excellent chance to convert a Mason Baxter pass into the MHS goalmouth, but had his attempt veer wide to the far side. A few minutes later, Vance sent a through pass past the defense, allowing CHS top gun Baxter to run onto it. Choosing to shoot from about 25 yards out on the right side while he had time and space, the Hornet – only one goal shy of posting the sixth 20-goals season in team history – got good foot on the shot, but, diving to his right as the shot went to the far side, the Mexico goalkeeper got a piece of the ball to keep the game knotted at 1-1.
Just as Mexico nearly produced a last-minute goal in the opening half, the Hornets nearly came up with a match-winner in the last 60 ticks of regular time. Off a right-side throw-in about midway into MHS territory, the ball caromed around and rolled toward a charging Vance. With traffic in front of him, the junior stepped into shot from about 25 yards, but, wanting to elevate it over the players between himself and the net, got too much elevation on it for the velocity, sailing it several yards over the crossbar and harmlessly out of play.
Chillicothe continued to carry the attack to the Bulldogs in both overtimes, although Mexico did have some forays toward the Hornets’ goal, as well.
In the first OT, CHS earned two corner kicks and had two other direct free kicks after MHS fouls from within 35 yards, but none worked out. Then, midway through the second extra period, Ch. Corbin slipped between taller defenders to get to Baxter’s long, hard throw-in from the right side and head it sharply toward the Mexico goal, just inside the left goalpost. However, Given made an outstanding read of the chance and, quickly shifting to his left, grabbed the ball chest-high a yard or two away from the goal line.
The eventual defeat squared Chillicothe’s season record again at 8-8-1, rather than it climbing two above .500. The Hornets have been either at .500 or a game above or below since dropping their first match of this month.
CHS is scheduled to visit Hannibal for a 5 p.m. match Monday before having its regular-season home finale Thursday against Savannah.
Chillicothe then will host the 4-teams Class 2 district tournament early next week, likely starting Monday, Nov. 4.