Himse Abdule and Said Gure are tight as one would hope teammates would be, though it doesn’t always work out that way.
They work well together and that’s probably because, when it comes to soccer, the two St. Cloud Apollo seniors have been playing together a long time.
“I was playing with him for six years and he’s one of the best guys I’ve played with,” Abdule said. “I’m really enjoying playing with him.”
Making it much more enjoyable is beating St. Cloud Tech. Gure scored three goals to lead St. Cloud Apollo to a 3-2 boys soccer victory on a pleasant but warm Tuesday evening at Michie Field.
“It was a great performance (for) our team and we are glad that we came out with the win,” Abdule said.
Abdule, the Eagles’ tall, strong midfielder, set up Gure with the winning goal on a perfect crossing pass in front of the net with 16:04 to play in the second half.
It broke up a 2-2 tie and enabled Apollo (3-0 Central Lakes, 4-1 overall) to remain unbeaten in conference play.
“We know each other because of soccer in the fall,” said Gure, who has eight goals this season. “But we also play summer soccer together so are together a lot.
It was especially fun Tuesday for Apollo, especially in the first half. The Eagle dominated the first 40 minutes of play to take a 2-0 lead.
“The first half, we did not play our game,” Tech head coach Nantha Viswanathan said. “We let Apollo dictate their game to us.
“The first 25 minutes (of the second half), we played our hearts out. They have very very quick forwards and we must be a strong passing team to be successful. We showed our disciplined passing game and that’s how I think we got back into it.
“Then I think we ran out of steam.”
It was the first loss for Tech (1-1, 3-1), which is improved and has some good, young talent.
The Tigers got goals from sophomore Brandon From, his fifth goal of the season and from freshman Mohamud Aden. Aden kicked a high-arching shot that went past the leaping Cooper Gray to tie it with 29:42 remaining. It was Aden’s first goal of the season.
“I think it was a typical Apollo-Tech game,” Apollo head coach Ganard Orionzi said.
“The level of competition changes when the two teams play. Everybody wants to win. It’s highly competitive. I think it was a good game.”
Tech kept the pressure on, outshooting the Eagles for a good chunk of the half before Gure knocked in the game-winner with 16:04 to go.
“I’ve told our boys this over and over,” Orionzi said. “They get terribly upset when they’re scored on. It’s something we’re trying to work on. This team, for some reason, gets down easily when it is scored on.”
Gure’s explanation for the dramatic momentum switch from the first half to the second half was simple.
“They (the Tigers) came out hard in the second half,” Gure said. “I think we thought because it was 2-0 we were in control, but we came out lazy. Then it got to be 2-2 and we got it going again.”
Gure impressed Viswanathan, a quick, skilled forward who seems to be a threat to score every time he touches the ball.
And then there’s Himse, who is 6-foot-4 and a team captain with Abidfatah Musse, Aidan Sim-Campos and Cory Waldron.
“He’s having a good season,” Viswanathan said of Gure.
And Himse? “I’m waiting for him to graduate,” he quipped.
“He’s been talking about that for quite some time,” Orionzi said of Viswanathan’s comment. “I think everybody in the St. Cloud area is looking forward to him graduating.”
For now, though, there is a lot of season left. The Eagles play at 5 p.m. Thursday at Fergus Falls. Tech is host to Alexandria at 6 p.m. Thursday at St. Cloud State.
Tech and Apollo meet again at 8 p.m. Sept. 27 at SCSU and Viswanathan looks forward to playing at the Tigers’ home stadium, which has artificial turf.
“It’s the first loss in our season and with (12) games left, I will take it.” Viswanathan said. “It’s not a bad score, 3-2.
“This is always a big attention game. Now we are done with this and can move on. I’ll only have to come back here (to Apollo) next year.”
Tech 2, Apollo 1
Mara Weaver scored her first goal of the season to help Tech break a 1-1 tie with 34:02 left in the second half in the first game of the doubleheader at Michie.
It gave Tech (1-1 CLC, 1-3 overall) its first win of the season.
“The first win is always nice,” said Tigers head coach Eric Olson, whose squad returns four starters from last season’s conference championship squad. “You know it will come.
“But every game it doesn’t come, you’ll wonder how much longer it will be. I’m really happy for the kids.”
Apollo (1-2, 2-3) took a 1-0 lead on Madison Mack’s goal with 29:03 left in the first half.
Tech evened it up when sophomore Emily Dorn scored with 16:15 to go.
Apollo had nine shots and goalkeeper Elizabeth Lowery had five saves for the Eagles.
Tech had seven shots and MacKenzie Feeny made seven saves.