May 10, 2021
Missouri Valley College

The No. 4 Missouri Valley College men’s soccer team played No. 1 Central Methodist (Mo.) in the semifinal round of the 2020 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship Saturday afternoon at Blanchard Woods Park north of Augusta, Ga.  The Vikings scored three goal early in the first half, and added one late goal to defeat the Eagles, 4-2, and advance to the National championship match for the third time in program-history.

Missouri Valley went in front early, as Sophomore Forward Kainan Dos Santos (Sao Paulo, Brazil) set up Sophomore Forward Miroslav Markovic (Loznica, Serbia) five yards out from goal.  Markovic put his shot past the keeper and inside the left post to give MVC a 1-0 lead with just over six minutes played.  The next shot on goal came just over seven minutes later, as both Dos Santos and Junior Forward Aleksandar Trujic (Brcko, Bosnia & Herzegovina) teamed up on an opportunity to set up Junior Midfielder Ruben Jimenez (Barcelona, Spain).  Jimenez sent his shot from 17-yards out past the Eagles keeper, and put the advantage at 2-0.  Less than three minutes later, the lead grew to 3-0, as Trujic scored.  Central Methodist created chances over the next stretch of play, forcing Sophomore Goalkeeper Dusan Milosevic (Belgrade, Serbia) into a pair of saves through the midway point of the half.  Missouri Valley was unable to create any shots until late, as the Eagles had a pair of shots blocked, and Milosevic made another save with less than nine minutes to play before halftime.  Central Methodist looked to shrink its deficit, but a goal was called back by an offside call near the 38-minute mark.  The Vikings held off any more CMU chances as the half came to an end, and the team carried a 3-0 lead into halftime.

The first chance on goal in the second half came from Missouri Valley, as Jimenez forced the Central Methodist keeper into a save with just over five minutes played.  The Eagles created their first quality chance at the 61-minute mark, but Milosevic came up with another save.  The Viking lead nearly increased eight minutes later, but an attempt from Trujic hit off the post and away from goal.  Central Methodist built up pressure of the next several minutes, and eventually trimmed its deficit to 3-1 with 15-minutes remaining in the contest.  Missouri Valley held the better of possession over the next stretch, but shots from Dos Santos and Sophomore Forward Juri Schlingmann (Flensburg, Germany) were saved.  The Vikings eventually worked another chance, and a shot from Sophomore Forward Paulo Alves (Curitiba, Brazil) got past the CMU keeper, and put the team’s lead at 4-1 with eight minutes remaining.  The Eagles were awarded a penalty kick two minutes later, making it a 4-2 score, but the Viking defense kept Central Methodist from creating another quality opportunity.  Missouri Valley worked down the final minutes of the match, and earned a 4-2 victory to advance to Monday’s National championship match.

Trujic scored his seventh goal of the season, and his first game-winning goal.  Markovic added his fourth goal, Jimenez scored his third goal, and Alves scored his fourth goal.  Dos Santos added three assists, and now has six assists and a team-high 39 points on the season.  Gluscevic added assist No. 13 on the season, to lead the team, and has 29 points.  Milosevic made four saves in goal.

The win moves Missouri Valley to 17-4-2 on the season, while Central Methodist drops to 22-2.  This is the program’s second win over a No. 1 ranked opponent.  The Vikings defeated No. 1 Rio Grande (Ohio), 2-1, in the quarterfinal round of the 2018 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship.

Missouri Valley will play in the program’s third National championship match.  In 2017, the Vikings fell to Wayland Baptist (Texas), 1-0 in double-overtime, and lost to Central Methodist in 2018 in penalty kicks.  The National championship match will be Monday at 6 p.m., CT, at Blanchard Woods Park.

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