By Justin Haggerty
MUSKEGON – The Muskegon Risers are having a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde inaugural season.
When at home Muskegon has dominated the competition, with three wins in as many games. On the road the Risers have dropped all three games.
That trend continued on Saturday, but it was happy news, because the Risers returned to the friendly confines of Reeths-Puffer High School after playing last weekend in Iowa.
They registered a 5-1 victory over Brujos FC, an independent soccer club out of Chicago, in front of another packed house.
Jeff McClure and Brogan Shrimpton led the way for the Risers with two goals apiece.
“Playing in front of the home crowd is definitely a massive plus for all our guys,” said Risers Coach David Wood, who played in the game and started at a forward position. “Getting the backing of all the fans definitely drives us.
“When we’re on the road and we’re on the receiving end of it, it’s not been ideal but hopefully when we get on the next away trip, we can put that deal to rest.”
The Risers started scoring early and never let up on the visitors.
McClure got Muskegon on the board in the third minute of the game by deking past the Brujos defense and beating goalkeeper Victor Ayala on his right side.
“We wanted to come back from a bad showing last weekend (a 2-0 loss at Des Moines) and come out strong in this game and I happened to get the early goal,” McClure said.
Five minutes later, Shrimpton had a chance to put the Risers up by two after taking a centering pass from Miguel Angeles, but missed when he headed the ball just over the net.
Muskegon got its second goal in the 21st minute when Holland native Diego Bobadilla dribbled the ball down the right wing and drove it past Ayala, again on the goalkeeper’s right side.
Just five minutes later, Angeles made a nifty move on the Brujos defense and centered to Shrimpton, who deked past the final defenseman and jamming the ball past Ayala’s left side, giving the Risers a commanding 3-0 halftime lead.
“We started off quick, that was the game plan today,” Wood said. “Especially in the first 10 to 15 minutes, we wanted to really set the pace of the game, get a couple early goals and ease into the game as we go. It’s nice to set the tempo for the game.”
The second half started just as the first did.
Jamie Waters brought the ball into the box and centered to Shrimpton, who scored his second goal of the game in the 46th minute to put the Risers up 4-0.
Brujos finally got on the board in the 51st minute when Ricardo Aldape managed to beat Muskegon netminder Reece Richardson, making the score 4-1.
In the 57th minute, Bobadilla brought the ball down the right sideline and completed a long lead pass to Shrimpton on the left wing.
Shrimpton centered to McClure, who notched his second goal of the game and fifth of the year to cap the scoring.
The last 30-plus minutes of the game were uneventful, but that was by design.
“We wanted to keep the ball a little bit,” Wood said. “We wanted to try and possess and keep it and work the ball instead of just going forward all the time.
“We wanted to work on some things. In the back end of the second half, we tired a little bit as well but it was good.”
The Riser players know their consistency needs to improve, but they were happy to get another win for their home fans.
“We definitely need to play better on the road,” McClure said. “We want to stay undefeated at home.”