Special to the Herald
The Clinton Herald
---- — CLINTON – Playing in its final home game of the regular season, the fifth-ranked Ashford University men’s soccer team gave the fans plenty to cheer about Tuesday night.
Paced by a quartet of second-half goals, including two from freshman Daniel Dreier, the Saints pounded Mount Mercy 5-0 on Senior Night at South Campus.
Freshman Fernando Machado opened the scoring in the 35th minute when he gathered in a corner kick from Lucas Alemida and hammered it into the open cage for his first career goal.
The score remained 1-0 until after halftime in what was a defensive battle, as both squads managed six shots each in the first half.
But the onslaught began a little more than three minutes into the second half when Dreier, from Wellendorf, Germany, gathered in a cross from Almeida and fired it past Mustangs goalkeeper Harrison Burgess to make it a 2-0 game. Six minutes later, sophomore Tim Krautheim pounced on a cross from Javier Ramirez for his third goal of the season to make it 3-0.
Ashford added a pair of insurance markers in the 85th minute, the first coming on a highlight-reel goal from Ramirez in which he went airborne to hammer home his ninth goal of the year on a feed from Simon Brown. Just 21 seconds later, Dreier potted his second of the game in close on a feed from Ramirez to cap the scoring.
AU dominated the second half, outshooting the Mustangs 16-1 on the way to a 22-7 advantage in total shots, putting nine shots on target to three for the visitors.
Senior goalkeeper Patrick Kinsella turned in his second consecutive clean sheet and third shutout on the season, stopping three shots to help the Saints improve to 11-3-1. The Mustangs fell to 8-8.
The Saints will close the regular season Tuesday, when they travel to Davenport for a 3 p.m. showdown with St. Ambrose.