In Truman soccer’s last game against St. Joseph Central Monday night, the Patriots came out flat and listless in a 2-0 win on a day school was out.
What a difference a couple of days makes.
On Thursday, the Patriots came out full of energy and bombarded an undefeated Fort Osage team with four goals in the first half, which led to a 5-2 non-conference win at home.
For Truman, the passing was crisp, the flow of the offense was on point, and the chances to attack were plentiful against a Fort Osage defense that had only yielded five goals in 13 games prior as the Patriots had a 11-2 edge in shots.
“I thought this was one of our best games until the last 10 to 12 minutes,” Truman coach Manny Tovar said. “We had a lot of quick one-touch passes and that’s something we’ve been working on. A lot of our shots were on target.
“I think we executed very well and kept (Fort Osage) moving side to side.”
Andre Guzman was a catalyst for two of Truman’s first three goals. The diminutive senior midfielder, who is known for his ball-handling skills and powerful leg, sent a beautiful cross to the far right side of the goal and Nate Hedrick made a perfect run to the goal to finish the shot in the second minute.
“Our strikers checked to one of our midfielders whether it was me or Raul (Romero) or Korby (Ring),” Guzman said. “Then they would lay it back off and then one of our attackers would filter behind, so it confused (Fort Osage’s) backline.”
In the 13th minute, sophomore midfielder Jose Calderon fed a through ball to a streaking Hernan Andrade who drilled a shot past Indian goalkeeper Kaia Tupino for a two-goal advantage.
Fort Osage (13-1) only had three shots the entire game and its first one game in the 25th minute in which Jack Tupinio fired an open shot from the left wing just wide right of the goal.
With 10:42 left in the half, Guzman once again found a teammate when he sent a through ball between two defenders and Ring, a sophomore midfielder, was able to bend a shot inside the right post for another Truman (10-3) goal.
“That’s tough to defend as a goalkeeper,” Fort Osage coach Michael Brown said of Ring’s shot.
Shortly after scoring an impressive goal, Ring made a jaw-dropping pass when he lobbed a pass over a handful of Fort defenders and Hedrick made another great run to put it in for a 4-0 halftime advantage.
“I honestly didn’t think he was going to get it to me,” Hedrick said. “Right when I saw the keeper coming out, I touched it in. It was a perfect ball.”
While the second half was equal possession among the crosstown rivals, Guzman sealed it with 7:50 left when he nailed a 30-yard free kick that roped past Kaia Tupino and into the goal.
“Sometimes he tries to do a little too much, but overall he’s done great for us. He opens up a lot of things,” Tovar said of Guzman.
Added Guzman: “Against St. Joe on Monday, I had (a direct free kick) from 35 yards out, but it hit the (crossbar). This time I had the same opportunity and I had to take it. I knew what I was going for and thankfully it went in.”
Jake Lammering scored a couple of late goals to help Fort Osage avoid the shutout.
“They know when to make runs and are dangerous going forward,” Brown said of the Patriots. “Early on they kind of caught us off guard and put a couple of balls over out head that we weren’t expecting.
“From there we had to try to play catch up. We just hadn’t seen a good as technically as good as them.”