CARBONDALE — James Oberg and Manny Flores teamed up for two goals in the final two and a half minutes of the first half to lead the Terriers to a 5-1 win over Murphysboro on Saturday, snapping the Red Devils’ four-game winning streak.
“We played well,” said Carbondale coach Jeff Hansen. “We got off to a great start pressuring them right away, but Coach Lydy has them defending with six and seven back there. We were breaking down the right areas, but not connecting. Something we’ve been working on is crossing and finishing trying to find the right ball to the right runs. It’s working because a lot of the goals we scored were from that play.”
Carbondale (10-3) won its second straight game, while Murphysboro lost for only the second time since starting the season 0-4. The Terriers continue their homestand with a game against Cape Notre Dame on Tuesday, a South Seven battle Thursday against Marion and another conference game the following Monday against Centralia.
“This will be a big week for us coming up,” Hansen said. “We’ve got Marion on Thursday and that game could be for the No. 1 regional seed. If we can find a way to win a couple games next week, we can stake our claim to the No. 1 seed.”
The Terriers dominated the first half with 17 scoring chances, but the Murphysboro defense was more than up to the task, not allowing the Terriers an uncontested shot until Oberg shot a rebound that the Red Devil goalkeeper Jett Hayes had to make the save on 39 seconds before he scored his first goal.
“Carbondale is fast and big and more physical than us,” Lydy said. “We played four games in one week and have a reduced roster, and despite that, our defense was great until they got tired.”
Murphysboro (5-6-1) actually had the first shot on goal halfway through the half when Alec Stamm took a long shot that Carbondale keeper Braulio Ostos had to stop. Two minutes later, Carbondale was called for a foul near the right corner at the top of the goalie box. Aaron Garret took the free kick and Ostos needed to make a fingertip save to keep the game scoreless.
Flores came off the bench with five minutes remaining before halftime to play center forward. The Terriers kept the pressure on Hayes, but the defense continued to keep shots away from him until Flores and Oberg worked their magic on a run down the right side.
“When I came into the game I was trying to look for the ball a lot,” Flores said. “I got the ball and looked up and I saw James running towards the outside and I was able to pass it to him and he scored. On the second goal I took maybe two, three or four touches and crossed it to James again in the same spot with the same result.”
With time ticking down, Flores and Oberg teamed up again on the exact same play to give the Terriers a 2-0 lead with 38 seconds left. For Oberg, the two goals were his seventh and eighth of the season while the two assists were the first for the freshman Flores.
“It was all Manny on both goals with two great balls,” Oberg said. “All I had to do was put it away.”
The Terriers upped their lead to 3-0 just 3:09 into the second half when outside defensive back Zach Williard got possession of the ball near midfield and passed the ball to Noah Guyton, who found Matthias Schurz near the right side of the goal for his fourth goal of the season. For Guyton, it was his team-leading seventh assist of the season.
Murphysboro broke the shutout bid four and a half minutes later after Carbondale was called for another foul near the goalbox. After the kick, Kelton Brinker scored his first goal of the season on a rebound.
The Terriers closed out the game with two goals in a 1:17 span with 23 minutes remaining on Josh Payne’s sixth goal of the season off a rebound and Sajad Nasser’s team-leading 13th goal, with Epi Melchor picking up his first assist.