Second Half Goals Lead Wildcats Past Pirates

Second Half Goals Lead Wildcats Past Pirates

by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant 

SPOKANE, Wash. – Two goals in the final 20 minutes gave the Linfield Wildcats a 3-1 victory over the Whitworth Pirates in Saturday afternoon' s Northwest Conference men's soccer contest. 

The win was Linfield's (4-6-2, 2-4-2 NWC) second straight win over the Pirates (4-8-2, 3-4-1 NWC) after snapping a 30-match losing streak in September. 

The two teams traded goals in the match's early minutes. Linfield struck first when a free kick from Isaias Flores found the head of Gerardo Perez Jr. The header beat Whitworth keeper Jesus Nunez from five yards out to give the Wildcats the lead. 

Aaron Yanagi's first goal as a Pirate was the equalizer. The senior outside back dumped a rebound into the net from Kyle Cacoyannis' shot to even the match at one. 

Linfield pulled away in the second half. After a chaotic moment on the counter-attack, Conner Heintz found the ball at his feet 14 yards from the goal. Heintz pulled a sliding shot past Nunez to put the Wildcats up one. 

Irvin Figueroa put the match away ten minutes later. Figueroa looped a 30-yard free kick inside the near post to give Linfield a 3-1 lead in the 80th minute.   

Cameron Perron held off the Whitworth attack for the final ten minutes to seal the victory. Perron finished with seven saves on the day, allowing just Yanagi's goal. Nunez made six saves for Whitworth.

The Bucs finished the match with the lead in shots (21-11), but took fewer shots on goal (9-8) and corner kicks (5-4) than the Wildcats. 

The Pirates will have an opportunity to bounce back Sunday afternoon when they take on Willamette. The Bucs and Bearcats square off at 2:30 p.m.