Moorhead struck twice in the first half before adding another late tally to hand Bemidji boys soccer a 3-0 defeat on Tuesday evening at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Seeking to stop a three-match losing skid, the Lumberjacks unveiled several tactical adjustments in hopes of both winning more possession and creating better chances. The home team found itself behind in the 3rd minute however, as Spud winger Saif Allawi crossed to find Max Hodny crashing on the back post.
Bemidji answered well after going behind, but failed to capitalize on several chances created inside the penalty area. The best of the first half came in dual fashion, as Wylee Gladen was stopped at close range by Jacob Hendrickson in the Moorhead goal before Tayden Haugen fired the rebound well wide.
Moorhead’s top scorer would double the lead in the 30th minute. Just after subbing back into the game, Jibriel Gedo and Yousif Al Shihmani combined for the latter to strike a finish to the bottom corner beyond Bemidji’s Josh Nyberg.
Nyberg had several key decisions to make in the first half on claiming crosses or gathering up through passes played beyond the backline, which he steadily became more comfortable handling as the half continued.
The second half opened with a relatively early chance for Moorhead to inflict further damage. Al Shihmani was fouled inside the 18-yard box to draw a penalty, giving Mason Allen a chance from the spot against Bemidji’s John McNallan. But the junior goalkeeper was up to the task, making a relatively simple stop on the penalty kick.
McNallan was injured during or just after the penalty however, quickly bringing Nyberg back into action for the final half hour of play.
With time winding down, Bemidji’s last major chance to get a goal back came in unusual circumstances. Michael Dickinson was obstructed trying to reach a loose ball in the Moorhead penalty area, which prompted the referee to award a rare indirect free kick instead of a conventional penalty kick for a foul in the box. Needing to take a touch before a shot could be steered toward goal, Noah Johnson teed up Noah Ricci for a strike from just 12 yards away, which the Spuds’ Revar Qaqos miraculously headed off the line onto the crossbar.
The Spuds had time for one final goal in the last minute of play, with Gedo clipping a finish over Nyberg on a long ball from Caden Carter out of the defense.
Shots finished 13-9 in favor of the Spuds, with Moorhead putting eight on target to Bemidji’s seven. Nyberg made three saves, while McNallan stopped both shots he faced before his departure. Hendrickson made all seven saves in goal for Moorhead.
Bemidji drops to 1-4 with the loss, and will now head to Alexandria to square off with the Cardinals on Friday evening at 7pm.
Postgame interview with Bemidji head coach Rick Toward: