Mariners Men's Soccer continued a recent trend on Friday. Marin led by scores of 1-0 and 2-1 but in the end could not prevent a comeback by the visiting Merritt College Thunderbirds. The Mariners dropped Friday's match 3-2, their third consecutive loss where they led at some point. Kristopher Wangberg and Joseph Ndungu scored for the Mariners but they could not pull out the victory.
It was a promising start for Marin as Kristoffer Wangberg chipped in a cross from the left wing in the fourth minute. Joseph Ndungu rose for a header and connected, redirecting the ball past the keeper and into the net for to break the deadlock.
The Mariners' early lead lasted barely two minutes as Juan Lopez Rico received a ball over the top. He moved straight in on goal and was met by Marin's keeper Bryan Rodriguez. Rodriguez slid to play the shot, but was contacted by Rico almost simultaneously. The ball bounced over Rodriguez and nestled into the goal to tie the match at 1-1. No whistle sounded, though the contact could have warranted a foul.
Marin retook the lead in the 41st minute as Josue Herrera's run down the right flank drew the defense towards him. He powered a low cross to the back post where Wangberg sat and punched it home. The Mariners' defense held stout and kept the lead until the halftime whistle.
The first 30 minutes of the second half were decidedly neutral, but the final quarter of an hour belonged to the visiting Thunderbirds. Juan Lopez Rico tied the match up in the 75th minute with a powerful free kick from outside the box. The shot lofted the wall and settled in the upper right corner of the goal.
Tied at two, Merritt continued to press and were rewarded in the 84th minute. A punched out shot opportunity fell to the feet of Cameron Burns on the left side of the 18-yard box. He launched a shot from a tight angle that lasered over the head of Rodriguez and into the far side netting for a 3-2 Merritt advantage.
The Mariners pressed, looking for an equalizer, but it was not to be as the final whistle sounded.
It was an excellent game from a neutral perspective, but was a tad heartbreaking for the Mariners. It was their best chance to grab a victory in several matches but turned out to be just out of reach.
Wangberg scored his fifth goal of the year and Ndungu his second.
Marin's next match is Tuesday, October 8th at Yuba College. Kickoff is scheduled for 4pm.