Freedom New Mexico Staff
Eastern New Mexico University men’s soccer coach Carlos Elizondo knew his squad was up against it against No. 13 Midwestern State on Sunday.
The Mustangs got a disputed goal early in the match, then scored off a corner kick just before halftime and went on to a 5-0 Southwest Soccer Conference victory at the ENMU pitch.
“When you play a team like Midwestern, you need to play hard and have a little bit of luck,” Elizondo said. “I thought we played hard, but the referee killed it for us.”
Senior forward Daniel Brown scored a pair of goals for the Mustangs (8-1, 4-0 SSC), who have outscored their opponents 26-2 this season. It was the first one that didn’t sit well with Elizondo.
He said Brown used his hands to push the ball past ENMU goalkeeper Leif Craddock, breaking a scoreless tie with 18:44 gone.
“We played very well the first 15 minutes, and then they score a goal like that.”
Efren Castillo scored off a corner kick with 51 seconds left in the half. Considering the Mustangs’ stout defense and with the Greyhounds (3-5, 1-2) going into a stiff wind in the second half, it put ENMU in a hole in could not escape.
Craddock played well in goal, preventing several more potential Midwestern tallies with solid saves.
The Hounds, already playing without leading goal-scorer Ryan McClanahan (disciplinary reasons), lost senior midfielder Ryan Atkinson and senior defender Adam Diehl to red cards after halftime.
Both will have to sit out the Hounds’ next match, at home on Wednesday against rival West Texas A&M, although Elizondo said he expects McClanahan to be back in action.
“We’re going to play them really well, and I think we have every opportunity to win that game,” Elizondo said of the WT tilt. “The boys went out (against Midwestern) and played the best they could, but you can only control what you can control.”