DENVER, Colo. -- Senior forward Anthony Dean broke a tie with the game-winning goal in the 75th minute as the Western Washington University men's soccer team topped MSU Denver, 2-1, on Saturday night in non-conference action at The Regency Athletic Complex for the Vikings first win of the young season.
Saturday's game was the second contest of the trip to Colorado for the Vikings (1-2-1), who tied Colorado Christian on Thursday and will return home for the final non-conference game on the schedule next Saturday (Sept. 16) against Fort Hays State. MSU Denver dropped to 0-4-0 with the loss on Saturday.
"I thought we did a really good job overall tonight," head coach Greg Brisbon said. "A good team win, I felt. Everyone contributed and we're getting better every game so that's good to see."
Sophomore forward Christian Rotter (Auburn, WA/Auburn Mountainview), who had an assist in each of the first three games of the season for WWU, scored his first goal of the year in the 23rd minute from 13 yards away between a pair of sliding defenders for a 1-0 WWU lead. Dean (Amsterdam, The Netherlands/Bellevue College) helped set up the goal by firing a shot off the charging MSU Denver goalkeeper that deflected to Rotter, who finished to the mostly-open net with the Roadrunner defense scrambling to block the shot.
MSU Denver tied the game in the 45th minute with 42 seconds left before halftime when defender Kevin Beck scored a header goal from a corner kick, assisted by midfielder Brian Castruita. The play included the second corner kick and third shot within the last five minutes of the half for the Roadrunners as MSU Denver closed the half on the attack, including a shot that went off the crossbar in the 44th minute.
Dean scored the game-winner in the 75th minute, his third goal of the season and third consecutive game with a goal, after beating a defender down the left side of the field and scoring from 7 yards away with a blast over a sliding goalkeeper.
"He (Dean) did what he's good at, we got him in behind and we let him be creative and he was able to beat the defender with a great finish in the goal, it was a fantastic goal," Brisbon said.
The Vikings had a strong start to the game, controlling possession and generating 5 shots and 4 corner kicks before the goal from Rotter. WWU has scored in the 23rd minute or earlier in each of its four games this season, and has taken a lead with an early goal in three of the games.
"The guys that start are doing a really good job and a lot of that has to do with Christian Rotter, I think he has a goal or assist in every game this season and he's a big part of that -- his energy and tenaciousness" Brisbon said. "He had a really good game tonight as did Anthony (Dean) and Georg (Cholewa) but overall everyone played really well."
Rotter has 1 goal and 3 assists while Dean has totaled 3 goals and 2 assists to help lead the WWU offense in the early portion of the season. Both players have recorded a goal or an assist in each game.
The Vikings finished the game with a 14-9 advantage in total shots with each team putting 4 shots on goal. WWU had 8 corner kicks compared with 4 for the Roadrunners.
Senior goalkeeper Tyler Visten (Mount Vernon, WA/Skagit Valley College) made 3 saves for WWU while MSU Denver goalkeeper James Tanner totaled 2 saves.
Saturday's win for the Vikings avenged a 2-1 loss to MSU Denver last season when the teams played in Bellingham.
The Vikings return home for their final non-conference game before the start of the conference schedule, hosting Fort Hays State next Saturday at Harrington Field (7 pm). The game will be the second of a Saturday soccer doubleheader, with the top-ranked WWU women's soccer team hosting Western Oregon at 4 pm prior to the WWU vs. Fort Hays State game.
-- WWU Athletics (@WWUAthletics) September 10, 2017
— WWU Athletics (@WWUAthletics) September 10, 2017
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