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Boys Soccer: Cardinals rebound from tough loss by edging Marshall

MARSHALL — On paper Willmar should have had no problem with Marshall Monday. But the game was played on artificial turf on the campus of Southwest Minnesota State University and the Cardinals escaped with a hard-fought 2-1 win behind Juan Contreras’ late goal in a battle between Section 2A foes.

Willmar was coming off a 2-1 loss in double overtime to Central Lakes Conference rival Alexandria on Thursday. Before that the Cardinals were averaging 4 goals a match in a span in which they were 4-0-1.

Marshall was a little faster than Willmar coach Jeff Winter expected since his squad hadn’t played on artificial turf yet this year.

“It was a very physical game with a lot of tackling from behind,” said Winter. “It was more physical than we thought and it was our first game on turf. It was a little faster than expected, but we played past that and got the win.”

Contreras’ goal came in the 69th minute and was set up by several passes that started on the right flank. Diego Millan was credited with the assist on the goal that was 57 minutes after Nick McLouth scored from an Ezequiel Gomez pass in the 12th minute that gave Willmar a 1-0 lead.

Marshall (0-6-1) got its lone goal 8 minutes into the second half.

The Cardinals don’t get much rest as they host Sartell today at 5 p.m. in a 2-point CLC match. Willmar is in fifth place in the conference, but only 2 points behind front-running Sartell.

Willmar 2, Marshall 1

Willmar (5-2-1)  1 1 — 2

Marshall (0-6-1)                0 1 — 1

FIRST HALF – Wil: Nick McLouth (Ezequiel Gomez) 12:00

SECOND HALF – Mar: Samuel Duran 48:00 … Wil: Juan Contreras (Diego Millan) 69:00

SHOTS ON GOAL – Willmar: 12 … Marshall: 8

GOALIE SAVES – Willmar: Charlie Trochlil 6 … Marshall: Jackson Luther 10

DEFENSIVE SAVES – Wil: Brady Damhof 1