There is no question that Matt Lindberg of the Edina High boys soccer team is on his way to an All-State season.
Lindberg carried the Hornets in two tough Lake Conference matches last week. He had Edina’s lone goal in a 1-1 tie with second-ranked Wayzata on Sept. 5. Two nights later, he scored both of his team’s goals in a 2-1 victory over Minnetonka.
“Wayzata and Minnetonka are both pretty good teams,” said Lindberg following the win over Minnetonka at Edina’s Kuhlman Field. “Minnetonka is the biggest rival that we have.”
In the Section 2AA playoffs last year, Edina earned a trip to state by beating Minnetonka in a shootout.
When the teams met on Sept. 7, it was another tight defensive game.
Lindberg gave Edina a 1-0 lead 25 minutes into the first half. Teammate Spencer Paugh was tripped by a Tonka player in the box and deferred the penalty kick to Lindberg.
Lindberg’s shot was saved by Minnetonka goalkeeper Luke Vereecken, but Lindberg pounced on the rebound and stuffed it home.
After Minnetonka tied the score on Noah Chung’s goal in the second half, it looked as if the match might go into overtime, then a late foul on Minnetonka gave Lindberg a chance from just outside the box.
“If we have to go over the [defensive] wall, Spencer [Paugh] is going to take the kick, and if there is room on the side of the wall, I will take it,” said Lindberg.
Lindberg conferred briefly with Paugh, then struck a low, hard shot from 30 yards out. Vereecken dove, but couldn’t get his hand on the ball, or even a fingertip.
With only two minutes to go at that point, Edina kicked the ball long, negating any possible scoring opportunity for the Skippers.
“We had some good bounces tonight,” said Lindberg.
Even though he wants to win every match, Edina head coach Dave Jenson was OK with a 1-0-1 outcome in the first games against Wayzata and Minnetonka.
“We are starting to hit our stride,” he said. “The guys worked hard on fitness during captains’ practice this summer, and it shows in the games. Ethan Ruwe is having a really good season in goal. Matt [Lindberg] has a vision for the season, and he has worked hard on his skills. Spencer [Paugh] has turned into a really top player. Max Pardo and Isaac Eckroth are really clicking defensively.”
Jenson thought the tie with Wayzata was a fair result.
“They have had our number throughout the four seasons Matt has played varsity,” said the Edina coach. “In this game, we had more possession than they did. The goal we gave up against Wayzata was kind of a birthday present. One of the best things about the team … our effort and attitude have been very good.”
Contact John Sherman at [email protected]