MERRILLVILLE | One early free kick was all it took for Times No. 6 Andrean to open the floodgates against visiting No. 9 Merrillville.
Mike Gore capitalized on his free kick opportunity with 29 minutes, 40 seconds remaining in the first half, putting Andrean ahead 1-0 and propelling the 59ers to an offensive onslaught and a 7-0 win.
“That first half might have been the finest half of soccer an Andrean team has played in a long time,” 59ers coach Pete Reist said. “We worked the ball left, right, long, short. We really moved the ball. We played at a fast pace and maintained a high skill level.”
After Gore’s goal, the 59ers (3-0) wasted no time in striking back, as Mike Metlov scored off an assist from Gore 37 seconds later.
Andrean would go on to score three more first half goals -- one apiece from Kyle Costa (off an assist from Chase Dawson), Matt Anderson and Jose Angulo -- to take an irreversible 5-0 lead at halftime.
The 59ers appeared to have the upper hand in speed, as Merrillville seemed to have trouble keeping up with them.
“Our fitness showed itself well, it was just a great half,” Reist said. “We’re deep this year. We’re four deep on the bench, and that’s great.”
Anderson scored his second goal at the 28:42 mark of the second half off a feed from Gore before an own goal from Merrillville later in the half capped the scoring.
Merrillville (0-2) mounted some offensive threats in certain situations, but Andrean goalkeeper Mike Croux thwarted every shot he faced.
“You’ve got to give a lot of credit to Andrean,” Merrillville coach Brian Past said. “For our guys, it’s game two. We’re just not clicking right. There’s 15 more games for us. What’s killing us right now are little mistakes. We’ve got some work ahead of us.”