By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Playing with the burden of a number one ranking is nothing new for City High.
What is relatively new for the top-ranked Little Hawks is the pressure associated with playing from behind.
City High showed it is more than capable of handling both on Tuesday.
Class 3A City High scored a pair of second-half goals to overcome an early deficit in a 2-1 win over No. 10 Cedar Rapids Washington.
“We have to expect somebody is going to score on us but what do we do after they score a goal? Are we still acting like a number one or are we acting like a number whatever?,” City High coach Jose Fajardo said. “I think they acted like a number one, they got back in the game, they controlled the game they didn’t panic, we didn’t bunch up. We went out with the plan of don’t play their game.”
Jonah Dancer and Rasmus Schlutter each scored second-half goals for City High (6-0) as the Little Hawks improved to 4-0 in Mississippi Valley Conference play.
Dancer scored on a penalty kick less than four minutes into the second half and Schlutter provided the game-winner in the 58th minute off a Cameron Chavez assist.
“I think all of us kind of had the feeling that those goals were coming,” Dancer said. “To play a good team and have great competition and come back and get a win is a great feeling and it’s great to show we can win a tough game like that coming from behind.”
City High faced a deficit for the first time this season when Keaton Woods scored in the sixth minute to give Cedar Rapids Washington (4-4, 1-3) an early 1-0 lead.
Despite controlling possession and mounting offensive attack after offensive attack City High trailed 1-0 at the half.
After scoring 25 goals in its previous three matches there was no panic or frustration from City High after a scoreless first half.
“I think perhaps it’s about channeling that frustration,” Schlutter said. “You don’t want to be content because if you aren’t scoring something is going wrong but it’s not like the thing going wrong is you don’t know how to play soccer it’s just these tiny things that separate good players from great players and good teams from great teams. We just had to get those tiny things figured out.”
City High got the break it needed early in the second half.
Gavin Oliver was fouled inside the box attempting to make a play on a corner kick to set up a City High penalty kick.
Dancer converted, blasting a shot past Washington keeper Isaac Keppler into the lower left corner to even the match at 1-1 in the 44th minute.
“We got lucky with the PK that happened early and that opened things up for us,” Fajardo said. “As you saw we controlled the whole game from the beginning to the end.”
With the score evened at 1-1 City High turned its offensive pressure up.
The Little Hawks took their first lead when Chavez took a deep pass beat a defender to the end line and slotted a cross to Schlutter.
The senior forward redirected the ball past Keppler to put City High on top for good in the 58th minute.
“As soon as we got that first goal we got a couple more shots on target and then we felt like we are coming together,” Schlutter said. “I think that is when that frustration turns more into energy and intensity.”
It was the first match for City High to be decided by less than seven goals since opening the season with back-to-back one-goal wins.
The loss was the fourth in five matches for Cedar Rapids Washington (4-4, 1-3) which dropped from second to No. 10 in the most recent Class 3A rankings released on Tuesday.
City High now turns its attention to Friday’s matchup with cross-town rival and eight-ranked West High at the University of Iowa Soccer Complex.
“We need games like this, we need games that are 2-1 and stay on our toes for 80 minutes because we still have in our memories all the wins from last year and we think it’s going to happen without work,” Fajardo said. “We need this for fitness, we need this for tactical preparation and we need it for mental preparation so they can see that they can come from behind.”