A chilly night in Waterloo could not stop a red hot Tiger offense, as Marshalltown looked to end their ICCAC slate with a victory against the Hawkeye Community College Red Tails. It took just 21 seconds before the Tigers would light up the scoreboard on a goal by sophomore Rafael Vacas on an assist from sophomore Taiki Kinugawa . The play developed as the Tigers stole the kick off from the Red Tails and efficiently carried the ball down to eventually beat a stunned Hawkeye keeper.
The Tigers would strike again in the 20th minute as Vacas would connect for the second time, scoring on an assist by freshman Gerald Diaz. Nine minutes later, Vacas would complete his first half hat trick on a ball again played by Diaz. The three first half goals would raise Vacas's team and ICCAC leading goal total to 16. While the assists would be Kinugawa's fifth and Diaz's first and second respectively.
The first half scoring would round out in the 40th minute as fresman Kazuki Kimura would find an open sophomore Evandro Resende in the middle of the box. Resende buried a ball in the back of the net for his second goal on the season. The assist was Kimura's team leading 8th on the year.
The stiff easterly wind, combined with solid play from the Red Tail keeper, Brenden Dally ,would delay the Tiger scoring until the 62nd minute when a play developed in the center midfield with sophomore Leonardo Tomasi beating several Red Tails to find freshman Jiroh Hatano on the left wing. Hatano would cross a perfect ball to Kinugawa who would one time a shot into the back of the net. The goal was the third on the year for Kinugawa, while the double assist was Hatano's first and Tomasi's sixth of the year.
The Tigers continued to put the pressure on the Red Tails, resulting in a foul on a breakaway opportunity in the box. The foul led to a penalty kick that sophomore Rafael Ramos would capitalize on, finding the back right corner of the net. The goal was the second on the year for Ramos. The Tigers would not waste any time before their next scoring opportunity less than a minute later. Kinugawa would send a cross in from the left wing finding the head of a streaking Pedro Silva, to extend the lead to 7-0. The goal was Silva's first on the year, while the assist was Kinugawa's second of the game, sixth on the season.
Perhaps the highlight of the match for the Tigers came in the 86th minute of the match as a foul in the box suffered by freshman Kenlove Solon led to another penalty kick. Head Coach Rafeal Martinez elected sophomore Torachiyo Machida to take the shot. Machida, who has been sidelined with injuries for the majority of his Tiger career would capitalize on the opportunity to score the first goal of his short season. The match would end with a score of 8-0, with sophomore Tom Wackens earning the clean sheet in goal for the Tigers.
"I thought we had a solid performance from every member of the roster, allowed us to maintain our style and intensity even under the difficulties Hawkeye presented to us. Our guys responded to the challenge very well, stayed focused on our game plan and executed offensively in an impressive way," Martinez said of the match.
With the victory, the Tigers stretch their record to 14-1. They finish ICCAC play 9-1 earning them a first round tournament bye. The Tigers will keep a watchful eye on the Iowa Central vs. Iowa Lakes match being played on Thursday in Spencer. If Iowa Central wins the match, the Tigers will go into the ICCAC tournament as the second seed. However, if the match is tied, or if the Lakers win the match, the Tigers will win the regular season Region XI Championship and will be the first seed in the ICCAC tournament.
"We are very happy we got to secure a top two finish in our conference, which gives us an important bye in the first round, allowing us to rest our legs and minds prior to the semifinal match at home. I believe that this year's ICCAC Tournament is the most competitive and even we have had since I started coaching at MCC, so it will be exciting to see how we, as a team, respond to the challenge," Martinez commented on post season play.
The Tigers return to action on Friday, October 12th as they take on William Penn JV at home. The game will be sophomore night and will kick off at 3PM.