Tue, May 29, 2018 07:38 AM
DES MOINES - With the score knotted 1-1 at the end of regulation, the Lincoln Railsplitters held on through a tense overtime period to earn a big win over the then-13th-ranked Roosevelt Rough Riders in a penalty shootout. In a game with CIML Metro title implications, it proved to be one of the most exciting games of the regular season. Student sections from both schools were heard in full voice, chanting and singing throughout the game. It was a game of high energy, end-to-end action. After ten minutes maintaining a feverish pace of play, it was Roosevelt that began to solidify control of the game. The Riders’ high press put them on front foot and able to anticipate and intercept many balls coming out of the Rails’ back third. They also seemed to plan well for Lincoln’s star striker Refuge Bargblor by putting pressure on him early. Despite finding the ball in transition several times, the Railsplitters’ midfield didn’t provide support quickly enough leading to cheap turnovers and scoring opportunities for the Roughriders. In the second half, more pressure from Roosevelt led to a foul on Christian Tavera in the corner of Lincoln’s defensive half. Tavera made no mistake with his free kick and swerved in a hard, driven ball towards the near post. It appeared to have been deflected by Lincoln senior Joshua Rocha who was defending the near post, leaving junior goalkeeper Javier Santiago helpless to react. Tavera almost scored again in the 70th minute from nearly the same spot. A searching cross, aided be the wind left Rails’ ‘keeper Santiago stranded as he watched the ball carom off the crossbar. As the second half wore on, Lincoln began to see their Metro title chances slip away and they started to play with more urgency. With about 15 minutes remaining, it was all Lincoln pressing for the equalizer. Both senior Htoo Soe and junrio Roderick Orellana worked tirelessly up and down the flanks from their wingback positions to support their attacking counterparts and the Riders’ seemed to be in trouble. However, Lincoln junior Alex Alatorre received a second caution, resulting in a red card, which left the Railsplitters down to 10 men with less than 10 minutes left to play. Playing at a disadvantage, Coach Simons doubled down and pushed sophomore Alexis Argueta forward to play in support of Bargblor. He made immediate impact by finding gaps in between the Roughrider lines and generally dictating the play. With less than a 30 seconds remaining, a long throw in from Lincoln junior Kevin Karimbizi forced a misclearance by Roosevelt senior Nick Schnack, which dropped to Soe, camped out at the top of the 18-yard box. Two touches later, Soe had tucked an excellent volley into the upper corner of the net, beyond the reach of Roughrider’s goalkeeper Edwin Garcia Overtime was a cagey affair and outside of an excellent chance to win it from Roosevelt, the extra period turned into a penalty shootout very quickly. The missed chance would prove costly for the Riders as the Rails held on to win the shootout 5-4. With the delayed publication of this edition of Kick It Forward’s Game of the Week, the regular seasons has come to an end and sub-state games are just around the corner. Lincoln finds itself in a difficult group needing to beat the winner of Indianola at Urbandale before taking on the top team from the other side of the bracket including Ankeny Centennial, Ames and Marshalltown. Roosevelt will play the winner of Fort Dodge at Sioux City East on Thursday followed by the winning team out of Sioux City North, Sioux City West and Ankeny High School. The sub-state finals will be played late on Saturday morning. Be sure to check out the Kick It Forward Twitter feed @kick_forward and Facebook page @kickitforwardia for highlights of the game.