By Justin Haggerty
At game time on Saturday against CKS Warta, the thermometer was 53 degrees with a steady downpour.
That didn’t stop more than 300 boisterous fans from showing up to see the Risers manhandle Warta, which bills itself as the “men’s premier soccer club of the Chicagoland area,” and walk away with a 3-0 victory to improve to 3-1 on the season.
Forward Brogan Shrimpton fueled the victory with a pair of goals.
The Risers set an aggressive tone early when Shrimpton blasted a high shot over the Warta goal within the first minute of play. But neither team could capitalize in the first half and the game was scoreless at the break.
“The first half, it was very sluggish,” said Risers coach David Wood. “Playing into the wind was obviously hard for us.
“We were trying to force the ball too much in the first half. Sometimes we can get a little bit frustrated in trying to play too much long ball,” Wood said.
The Risers made adjustments at halftime that paid off early and often in the second half.
In the 10th minute, Jamie Waters pushed the ball down the right wing, beating the defenseman and centered to Shrimpton, who slammed it home to open the scoring.
“Jamie made a great run, got past the defender and crossed the ball in and I was there just to finish it,” Shrimpton said.
Controversy erupted midway through the half when Warta goalkeeper Rodolfo Gonzalez came out to challenge a play by Waters and got knocked down in the process.
Waters received a yellow card, but Gonzalez remained upset, approaching the Muskegon bench and shouting at the Risers coaching staff.
“He was trying to show us a little nick on his ankle,” explained an amused Coach Wood. “It’s a contact sport, when you throw yourself on the ground, you’re going to get a little kicked.
“I think he just expected to get the call. I don’t really know, to be honest, why he came over [to our bench], I’ve never seen that happen before.”
Five minutes later, Risers forward Jeff McClure got behind the defense and got off a clean shot, only to see Gonzalez make a nice save.
But the rebound shot straight up in the air and McClure fired in his own rebound to put Muskegon up 2-0.
The scoring was capped with 20 minutes left when McClure carried the ball down the left wing and centered to Waters, who quickly tapped it to Shrimpton on the right wing.
Shrimpton forced his shot past Gonzalez and the celebration was on.
“Jeff made a great run down the side and crossed the ball in,” Shrimpton said. “Jamie got the ball and had the decision whether to take a shot or just lay it off. He thought it was better to lay it off and I just put it in the back of the net.”
The Risers face a quick turnaround with a road game Sunday in Ann Arbor before heading to Des Moines, Iowa next weekend.