Fullerton, CA- One of the longest droughts in Hope International athletic history ended on Saturday when the Royals beat The Master's 2-0. With confirmed records dating back to 1996 (though believed to be all time), Hope International, without so much as even earning a tie, had never beaten The Master's in men's soccer. Senior Matthew Howard assisted on the first goal and scored the insurance goal. Sophomore Mario Perez scored the first goal of the afternoon.
Eight minutes into the contest, Senior Edgar Bran hit a well struck free kick that had a little too much bend and was on target but curved right to the Mustangs' goalkeeper Andrew Bussell.
Kevin Scheunemann connected on shot just outside the left corner of the box for TMC but it carried directly to Senior Goalkeeper Jhovany Hernandez for one of his for four saves.
In the 12th minute, the Royals (7-4-1, 1-2-1 GSAC) did cash in their free kick opportunity. Howard bent a free kick from 30-35 yards out directly toward the six yard box in front of the goal mouth. Perez timed his run into the box perfectly and straightened out the shot straight into the back of the net. For Perez, the goal was his second goal in the last three contests and third goal overall for the season.
The Mustangs (5-7, 1-3 GSAC) outshot the Royals 3-2 the rest of the half but none of the five shots were really too dangerous. The scored remained 1-0 at the break.
Neither team attempted a shot in the second half until about 15 minutes in when Junior Jesse Perez lifted a header over the crossbar.
About seven and a half minutes later, Howard found himself behind the TMC defense but his shot was blocked away causing a scramble in the box. Freshman Eduardo Zavala saw his rebound attempt blocked in traffic.
Eight minutes later, Howard did not miss his opportunity. Junior Karlo Soto-Castillo threaded a pass through the defense on the right side that set up Howard with a one-on-one. Howard pushed the ball past Bussell and caught up to it just before going out of bounds and placed into the ball into the left side of the goal from the smallest of angles. The second goal of the match was goal number nine for Howard on the season.
TMC's Austin Rochow broke through on a breakaway with about three and a half minutes left and hit a hard shot on the ground. But with Hernandez diving to his right he made the save with literally nothing more than his finger tips.
The Mustangs managed two more shots before the game ended but the Royals prevented them from finding the back of the net for their GSAC leading sixth shutout of the season.
The Royals will now travel to play at Arizona Christian on Tuesday. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm at the Scottsdale Sports Complex. The Mustangs will host Vanguard on Wednesday at 3:00 pm.