Tech triumphs with 2 late goals

Tech triumphs with 2 late goals

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Tech triumphs with 2 late goals

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St. Cloud Tech vs. Park Center

St. Cloud Tech vs. Park Center

FARMINGTON — On a frigid night when there were few chances, Mohamed Abdi missed a big one.

His breakaway was stopped point blank by Park Center goalkeeper Salvador Salado at the start of the second half.

“I knew I was going to score again,” Abdi said confidently. “I knew I was going to get another chance.”

He did.

His goal at the 69-minute mark broke a scoreless deadlock. Mohamud Aden’s goal at the 77-minute mark clinched it.

Tech beat third-seeded Park Center 2-0 Wednesday night at Farmington High School.

“For being non-seeded and beating the third seed is a great accomplishment for this team,” Tech head coach Nantha Viswanathan said. “I just told them not to wait until the last 20 minutes to score next time.

“That was hard.”

Tech (17-1-2) plays second-seeded East Ridge of Woodbury at 5 p.m. Monday at St. Cloud State’s Husky Stadium in the state semifinals.

East Ridge (14-2-3) beat Rochester Mayo 2-0 earlier Wednesday at Farmington. The other Class 2A semifinal features Minneapolis Washburn (12-4-3) against defending state champion and fourth-seeded Anoka (15-3-2) at 3 p.m. Monday at St. Cloud State.

“We want Anoka,” Abdi said.

First things first.

It’s the first time Tech has advanced to the state semifinals. The Tigers lost in the first round in 2008 in their only other state appearance.

“That was a hard game,” said Aden, the senior mid who notched his ninth goal of the season. “We knew it would be a hard game.”

The game was played in horrible conditions. The temperature was in the mid-30s at kickoff. It either rained or snowed the entire game, with a steady, howling wind blowing across the field.

“I’ve only been here six years,” said Aden, who is from east Africa. “I’m not used to this kind of weather.”

But the Tigers didn’t let it affect them. They got over some early jitters and accomplished all of their goals.

Park Center (13-5-2) had three corner kicks in the first eight minutes, but never got off a shot. The Pirates ended up with four in the game. Tech had 11.

All-stater Sam Moses never got a shot for Park Center. Tech simply played great defense, never allowing him or the talented Pirates forwards to get loose.

And Tech finally got its offense going late in the second half.

Abdi, the tall freshman, scored his team-leading 16th goal after getting a pass from midfield and faking out a defender, beating the goalkeeper.

“Tell him who passed you the ball,” junior Khalid Gelani said to Abdi.

“You did,” Abdi said.

“He’s our ball of energy,” Tech senior defender Kaleb Woodman said of Gelani.

Aden’s goal finished the Pirates off. Though Tech dropped another defender back after Abdi’s goal, the forwards kept attacking. It caught Park Center a bit off guard.

“I played this game for our fans,” Aden said. “They made the two-hour drive here and stood on the cold bleachers.”

“They were loud,” Woodman agreed.

But it also was a nice win for the team. The Tigers are somewhere they have never been before: the state semifinals. And they get to play their next match on their home field, at St. Cloud State.

“It will be good to go home,” Abdi said.

Afterward, the Tigers were just happy to go anywhere that was warm. It was that miserably cold.

“I’m really exhausted,” Viswanathan said. “It was cold.

“The kids were cold. In the second half, they turned it up a notch.”

Follow Tom Elliott on Twitter @sctimestom or call 259-3661.

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Tech triumphs with 2 late goals

Abdi, Aden score as Tigers head to state semifinals Monday at SCSU

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