Brooklyn Merl had himself a Sunday, y’all.
The 6’1” German assisted on the first and third Marquette men’s soccer goals of the day and for funsies, Merl scored MU’s second strike in their 3-0 victory over Purdue Fort Wayne. That moves the Golden Eagles to 2-0-0 on the year.
If we’re being honest about it, the first half left both sides with a “well, let’s see what we can do a little different in the second half” mindset. Shots were 5-2 favoring Marquette, so it’s not like the Golden Eagles were torching the PFW defense even if keeper Max Collingwood had to make three saves to keep the match scoreless at the break.
It took Marquette precisely 130 seconds to do something a little different in the second half. Yes, Purdue Fort Wayne generated a shot and a corner kick of their own in the first 30 seconds of the half. Perhaps not ideal, but that’s fine, because Christian Marquez did this.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great finish by Marquez. But the work was done by Merl here, both to dance around the defender and to draw Collingswood to dive at him just a little to slow to stop Merl from sliding the pass to Marquez, who is hilariously unmarked off the far wing.
That’s 1-0 Marquette on their first shot of the second half, and the pace of play picked up a bit in the final 45 minutes. After seven total shots going either direction in the first half, the two sides combined for 18 shots after intermission. That’s wild!
Also wild: Merl’s goal, which came in the 57th minute. To be honest, the goal isn’t wild. The assist by keeper Ludwig Malberg is wild, as he takes a backpass from Tristan Ronnestad-Stevens (who also got an assist here, even though it was for a backpass) and just LAUNCHES it to the other end of the field. Merl runs underneath it, forces Collingswood to make the choice to backpedal into his net, and then roofs the shot as the PFW defender tries to just make Merl’s life hard to make any attempt to stop him without fouling and issuing a penalty kick.
Marquette was cruising pretty good at this point with a 2-0 lead, but Merl found Mitar Mitrovic in the 59th minute to get this extra insurance goal.
You tell me, stat nerds: Does Merl deserve an assist for that goal? Seems like Mitrovic did an awful lot of work after the pass was received, so it’s not like Merl knocking it out in front of him had a lot of impact on the actual shot itself.
Malberg finished the day with six saves for the clean sheet to go with his first career assist, and he had to work to get there. He made four of the stops in the final 20 minutes, with three of them in the final seven minutes alone. None of them were particularly complicated saves, but he still had to make them.
How about a full highlight package — which does include Malberg’s assist — courtesy of GoMarquette.com and FloFC?
Up Next: Marquette will have a pair of matches over Labor Day weekend, but it will be Friday/Monday, with a matinee on the holiday. Detroit Mercy will be in Milwaukee on Friday night, while Harvard will come to town on Monday afternoon at 2pm Central. The Titans are 0-2-0 after the first weekend of the season, while the Crimson don’t play their first match until they host Rhode Island on Friday afternoon.