Parker Crawford showed what speed can do.
It can beat you.
Crawford’s breakaway goal in the 75th minute of Nixa’s Thursday home soccer match against Glendale made the difference in a 3-2 Nixa win. The two teams exploded for four goals and a 2-2 tie in the first 15 minutes of the 80-minute game. When the scoring avalanche subsided, Crawford broke a 60-minute scoring drought.
“Better late than never, I guess,” Crawford quipped.
Nixa’s trio of the junior Crawford and seniors Joey Clem and Trustin Baker propelled Nixa to a 17-1 record in 2015 with four games remaining in the regular season.
“We have one of the best attacks in the area,” Crawford said. “Everyone is pretty quick, we all have good touch on the ball and stuff, and we all seem to be finishing pretty well.”
Clem, Nixa’s leading scorer, notched his 33rd goal of the season on a one-timer in the 11th minute. Clem slipped through the Ozark defense to receive a perfect pass from Baker.
“I just made a run through and Trustin put it on my foot,” Clem said.
Clem beat Glendale goalkeeper Jakob Price to the left and found the net to trigger one of the most commonly used phrases in Nixa box scores this year, “Nixa goal: Clem assisted by Baker.”
Eagles coach Evan Palmer considers himself lucky to coach a trio of scorers with such good chemistry together.
“What they can do up there, I just haven’t really seen—how they get to goal and score,” Palmer said.
Falcons forward Bobby Spence picked up an early goal in the third minute on a dribbling run from the left wing. Spence was able to cut inside a bury a low shot to score. Sean Perryman later scored a penalty kick following an inadvertent handling penalty on a Nixa defender.
“(Glendale) came out on fire and we couldn’t match their speed and ball movement, and they got one. They deserved it,” Palmer said. “I thought we responded well to that too, we could have hung our heads.”
Freshman Hunter Daniels scored Nixa’s first goal of the game.
Nixa played shutout defense for the final 65 minutes of the game.
Glendale maintained possession on Nixa’s half of the field for much of the season half, but Nixa’s attackers out-shot the Falcons 14-10 for the game and forced Glendale goalkeeper Nicholas Lantz to make 15 non-save touches on the ball.
“We got to where we were tired of them just breaking though,” Palmer said. “We tightened it up in the back. We got (Glendale’s) pace of play. They do a good job possessing the ball.”
Clem admitted frustration with only scoring one goal, but was also quick to compliment Lantz’s play in the Glendale net.
“That keeper is good. They are lucky to have him back there,” Clem said.
Nixa goes on the road to Parkview for a Friday game scheduled to start at 5:45 p.m. Glendale falls to 11-7 on the season and is scheduled to play St. John Vianney Saturday at 11 a.m. at Glendale’s Lowe Stadium.
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