(written for goalWA by Highline team personnel)
The Highline College men’s soccer team was at it again with a 6‐0 result over the Bellevue Bulldogs on a beautiful day at the Starfire Sports Complex. In what was a resounding offensive display for the Thunderbirds, they showed their pedigree early and often to gain control of the game and never relinquish it. Sophomore Vinny Nguyen had a virtuoso-‐like display registering goals and 2 assists. While the T-Bird defense had an Iron Curtain-‐esque showing, limiting Bellevue to two late efforts on goal.
A word comes to mind when watching this performance by Highline, unplayable. Simply put, that is exactly what the T-‐Birds were for large portions of the match on Saturday against what has been a stingy Bulldog defense. In typical fashion, Highline was on the board early courtesy of a very clever long-‐range effort by sophomore Vinny Nguyen. Freshman Jacob Jones was maliciously hacked down after bamboozling two Bellevue defenders on the dribble. Nguyen stood over the resulting free-kick, off center to the right about thirty five yards from the Bulldog goal. Vinny must have spotted a tell from the highly rated Bellevue keeper Danny Faundez as he hammered home an audacious effort from 35+ yards. It was a highly intelligent strike that must have had Faundez thinking cross. The Thunderbirds found themselves up 1-‐0 just a mere 5 min into the game.
The T-‐Birds looks insatiable in their appetite to score goals as they kept the pressure on Bellevue, but were unable to quickly add to their lead. Highline had several opportunities to double their advantage and were unlucky not to have put the game out of sight within thirty minutes. Just when it looked as though the Bulldogs would escape the half only being down 1-‐0, Highline unleashed a lethal 3-‐ minute barrage that looked to kill of the match before the interval. At the 40th min mark Highline was awarded a deep freekick. A driven ball was played into the Bulldog penalty area that found the head of Brandon Madsen. Madsen, so often a goal scorer this year, turned provider as he headed beautiful ball back across the box. Vinny found himself with acres of space as he went for the spectacular, a perfectly timed overhead bicycle kick that smashed the ball directly into the right upper 90 of the Bellevue goal. The score was 2-0 to the Thunderbirds with Nguyen sitting on a hatrick.
Highline only had to wait three more minutes to find themselves up 3-0. Vinny played a brilliantly weighted through ball to forward Madsen. Brandon found himself 1 v 1 with Faundez and made simple work of the chance. He stroked the ball calmly past the onrushing keeper to put the ‘Birds up 3‐0 two minutes short of half. Brandon, who has been in stellar form this season, brought his season tally to 8 goals thus far into the campaign.
One expected that Bellevue would come out on fire in the second half, but it was actually Highline who came out and grabbed the initiative. Sophomore Yves Mugisha, who has missed large portions of the season because of injury, came out like a man possessed. Yves only needed 5 minutes to make his presence felt as he displayed some great skill to combine with Freshman Alex Lewis and stampede down the right flank before centering a pass back to Lewis who powered the ball home from close range. It was quick and slick passing move that would have even made Barcelona proud. So the advantage stood, 4-‐0 to the outfit from Des Moines.
Highline was rampant in the second half and Yves was at it again in the 57th minute. Freshman stand out Isidro Prado-‐Huerta showed some great individual skill as he ghosted past several Bulldog defenders making his way down the left flank. Just when it looked as though he may pull the trigger himself he played a sublime centering pass to Mugisha. Yves should every bit of composure reminiscent of a certain Number 7 of Real Madrid as he only needed one touch to roll the ball in at the far post, just outside the outstretched hand of Danny. So, five goals to the good for the T-‐Birds after 57 minutes, with every chance they could put in more.
The Thunderbirds surpassed their goal record for the season courtesy of a second goal for Freshman Alex Lewis. Freshman Jules Mugisha made his way down the left flank before playing the ball infield toward Vinny who only needed one touch to help the ball on to Lewis. Alex showed great strength to hold off the Bulldog center back and smash the ball into the Bellevue net on the stoke of the 72nd minute. The sixth goal would cap the scoring on the day with several T-‐Birds showing impressive stats. Nguyen ended the game with two goals and two assists, Lewis with two goals, and Yves with a goal and an assist. All in all a pretty good day for the ‘Birds.
Bellevue would come close with a few speculative shots late on but would in large fail to truly trouble Highline keeper Grayson Raffensperger, who ended the day with three saves. The Thunderbirds had just played a truly outstanding game and when playing in form like this will be a threat to any team in the NWAC. Highline has a week lay off before jumping back into action against Olympic College at Highline College on October 18th. Game time is scheduled at 2:15 pm.
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