SPOKANE, Wash. – Will Wren knocked in a pair of header goals as 16th-ranked Whitworth knocked out Linfield 2-0 Saturday afternoon in Spokane in both teams’ Northwest Conference men’s soccer opener.
The Pirates (4-0-1, 1-0 NWC) wasted no time getting an early advantage, as Wren headed in a kick from Mike Chavez on a set piece in the 15th minute.
The ‘Cats (2-2, 0-1 NWC) were put under heavy pressure in the first, with keeper Scott Goodman facing five shots in the first 20 minutes. Linfield struggled to build an attack offensively, and surrendered a corner kick in the 26th minute. The Pirates did not waste the opportunity as Wren again capitalized with a header off the cross from Anders Nostdahl.
Despite gaining a sizable lead, Whitworth did not let up. The Pirates managed to win a pair of corners moving through the late minutes of the first half, but Linfield’s back line held off any further threat before the break.
The ‘Cats were outshot in the first by a 9-1 margin, and allowed three Whitworth corner kicks. Domenico Del Prete took the Wildcats’ only shot in the first half, but missed high in the 13th minute.
Goodman was tested almost immediately coming out of halftime, as he saved a shot from Samuel Engle in the 46th minute. An attempt from Justin Mikkola went high minutes later.
The ‘Cats had an opportunity in the 73rd minute, but a shot from Tyler Repic missed high and the score remained 2-0.
Linfield’s only other chance to put points on the board came by way of a corner kick in the 83rd minute, but no threat emerged after the ball was put in play.
Overall, the Pirates outshot the ‘Cats 22-2, forcing Goodman to make nine saves. Whitworth keeper Kyle Novak was well protected, and did not have to make any saves to earn the shutout.
AHEAD: Linfield travels to Walla Walla, Wash., Sunday afternoon to take on Whitman. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.