Union Hold On To Draw National Heavyweights
On a scorching late Spring afternoon, the boys in Green scraped out a result against one of last year’s best teams in American amateur soccer, the Miwaukee Bavarian SC. The Union players put in a competent shift in the return fixture of last week’s match in Milwaukee, which was won 4-1 by the Bavarians.
Players from the Dubuque Area American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) accompanied players out onto the field in the midday sun as temperatures at field level surpassed 90 degrees. By the end the match, the heat had taken its toll as players from both teams were left bereft of energy and longing for respite.
The opening stages of the game were even, with Union able to control the ball well, but early chances for the Bavarians forced Union goalkeeper Nathan Wisbey into early saves to keep things level. The noisy crowd was led by youth from AYSO in chants of support for the home side.
Union took a surprise lead in just the 7th minute when Alejandro Cosmopolis spotted the Milwaukee goalkeeper off his line and caught him out with a delightful lofted shot from 30 yards. The lead wasn’t to last long, however, as Milwaukee equalized just 5 minutes later. A loose pass at the back for Union was picked up by a Bavarian forward and slipped through to Andre Francois, who finished neatly beyond Wisbey low to the far post.
Minutes later, a controversial penalty awarded to Milwaukee stoked the Rock Bowl crowd into jeers and boos, but the penalty itself was converted after a brief stoppage to give the visitors the lead just before the 20 minute mark.
As the half carried on, there were chances at both ends. It wasn’t until the 41st minute that Tigrio Huerta would step up and pull the Union level with a goal eerily similar to Cosmopolis’ opener. After chasing down a long, bouncing pass to the left wing, Huerta deftly lifted the ball over the onrushing Bavarian goalkeeper with his first touch. After what seemed like an eternity, the ball found its way to the far corner of the net to tie the match at two goals apiece. “As soon as I hit it, I figured it was going in,” said Huerta, speaking to the Telegraph Herald. “We knew we could stay with them, so that’s what we talked about. We’ve got two goals, we’re tied, we’re in the game. Now we just have to get more goals and figure out the rest. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any more.”
Dubuque AYSO players entertained the crowd during halftime with a scrimmage match. Despite the scoreline remaining level, the second half was everything but dull. With both teams suffering from fatigue, chances soon opened up for either side to take the lead. Starting in the 70th minute, the Bavarians put Union under sustained pressure that the Dubuquers weren’t able to escape. But for the heroics of the defense and goalkeeper Nathan Wisbey, the result may have been severely different. When the final whistle finally came, Union captain Cosmopolis collapsed to the turf. Whether it was in pain or in relief, only he knows.
After being being voted by fans as Man of the Match, Union goalkeeper Wisbey said, “It was really the guys in front of me that were putting in the work. We were all communicating and everybody keeping their heads in the end is what got us the tie. We wanted the win, but we’ll settle for a point today.”
Union continue their busy week at home Tuesday (6/11) against Med City FC in a friendly matchup before returning to league action on Saturday night (6/15) vs. DeKalb County.