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Chris Murphy, Published October 01 2013

Moorhead and West Fargo finish in a 2-2 tie in boys soccer

MOORHEAD – It looked like a tie. It’ll go down in the records as a tie, but Tuesday’s 2-2 final after two five-minute overtimes between the West Fargo and Moorhead boys soccer teams at Jim Gotta Stadium felt nothing like one.

Considering the Packers scored two goals in the second half, stopped a penalty kick with less than five minutes remaining and had a defender boot a ball trickling toward a wide-open net in the second overtime, they’ll put it down as a win to close out their regular season.

“It sure felt like one,” West Fargo coach James Moe said. “We come back and score two in the second half, the goalie stops a (penalty kick). It’s just a lot of good, positive energy to close things out.”

Although, on paper, it was a meaningless game with West Fargo already locking up East Region’s No. 2 seed in the state tournament, it was the kind of game that builds confidence.

“It was our last game and we were getting ready for state,” said West Fargo midfielder Abdi Gedi, who scored both goals in the second half of Tuesday’s game. “Everything changed in the second half. It shows us that we can go hard at state and we are ready for anything that comes at us for state.”

It was “Senior Night” for Moorhead (9-3-3) and fittingly it was senior defender Ethan Olson’s header off a corner kick from Justin Froslie that put Moorhead up 1-0 midway through the first. Eight minutes later, Froslie found Nicolas Nguyen to put the Spuds up 2-0.

“For us, every game counts and we didn’t want to go into state losing a game,” West Fargo captain Zuheer Al-Abase said. “To come back from a 2-0 (deficit) at halftime was just great. We played real soccer in the second half. We played West Fargo soccer.”

West Fargo (12-4-2) soccer is apparently the best fitting soccer for West Fargo. Less than nine minutes into the half, Gedi cut the Moorhead lead to 2-1. Ten minutes later, Akeem Smith sent a cross that Gedi headed straight to the ground and it bounced into the net to tie things up.

With 4 minutes, 23 seconds remaining, Moorhead’s Zach Holtgrewe was awarded a penalty kick. He fired right, but West Fargo keeper Thomas Schroeder was all over it to keep the game tied. With 3:57 left in the final overtime, Froslie found a streaking Noah Yak, who bounced the ball to a wide-open net, but, just before it crossed the line, West Fargo defender Mason Wikstrom came out of nowhere to boot it away.

“I give props to our goalie for saving us at the end with the PK,” Al-Abase said. “In the first half, we were just rushing things and we weren’t ready for this game. We know when to switch it. We know how to get serious.”

With the postseason next, West Fargo will have to keep that switch on.

“Honestly, it doesn’t matter who we play,” Al-Abase said. “State is state. Lose or win, we’re going to lose as a team or win as a team.”

Moorhead closes the regular season Friday against Bemidji before beginning its postseason.

“Our team is all about defense,” Moorhead coach Lance Hansen said. “I’m not too worried about going into section play because it’s all about defense. I feel really good going into sections with the defense we have.”

FIRST HALF: 1, M, Olson (Froslie), 20:16. 2, M, Nguyen (Froslie), 28:08.

SECOND HALF: 3, W, Gedi, 8:47. 4, W, Gedi (Smith), 18:51.

FIRST OVERTIME: no scoring.

SECOND OVERTIME: no scoring.

SAVES: M, Schmidt 6. W, Schroeder 6.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548