By Andrew Johnson
MUSKEGON – The Muskegon Risers hosted their Major Arena Soccer League 2 home opener on Friday, and found out they’ve got some issues to fix in a 12-7 loss to the Cincinnati Swerve.
Within the first 6:24 of the first quarter, Muskegon found itself down 3-0. The Swerve got goals from Richardo Israel, Christopher Dupont and Eddie Zavala.
“It’s really hard to be in the hole,” said Risers head coach Ben Ritsema. “It’s super hard to come back. It kind of took us out and deflated us. We made a nice run in the second half, but ran out of gas.”
Muskegon scored the final goal of the first quarter when Willy Guerrero found the net with 1:44 remaining, making the score 3-1.
In the second quarter, Muskegon was outscored 3-0 by Cincinnati. Goal scorers for the Swerve were Sullivan Kayed, Zavala and Trae Collins.
While the Risers faced a 6-1 deficit at halftime, they showed some fight in the third quarter, outscoring Cincinnati 3-2.
Muskegon got goals from James Dutcher, Franco Calabrese and Jubenal Rodriguez in the quarter while Cincinnati got goals from Dupont and Jake Stovall.
After three quarters, Muskegon trailed the swerve 8-4.
In the final quarter, Cincinnati outscored Muskegon 4-3 to send the Risers off the field with a home loss.
Fourth-quarter Riser goals were scored by Franco Calabrese and Rodriguez. who found the back of the net twice.
Christian Johnson scored twice for Cincinnati while Kayed and Dupont each scored once in the fourth quarter.
Muskegon outshot Cincinnati 16-13 in the game, while also picking up six penalties compared to Cincinnati’s four.
The Risers played sloppy and helped set up a lot of the Swerve goals, fact that didn’t go unnoticed by Ritsema.
“We showed some grit in the second half,” the coach said. “But overall we just have to defend better and communicate better on the back line.”
Muskegon, now 0-2 on the season, and will travel to Cincinnati on Saturday Dec. 29 for their next game.