Muskegon rises with one last rally to quell Colorado Inferno, 9-8; Cleveland tops Chicago 14-2

MUSKEGON, Michigan -- ANother weekend of Major Arena Soccer League 2 action, and another down-to-the-wire thriller.

The host Muskegon Risers rallied twice from two-goal deficits -- including scoring three of the game's final four goals -- to nip the Colorado Inferno Saturday night at Mercy Healthy Arena, 10-9. 

Remarkably, the score was tied no less than seven times, the last time at 9-9. when Marcel Berry found the back of the net for the game winner with just under five minutes left to play.His first goal of the night broke a 3-3 tie late in the first half, as the Risers took a 5-4 lead to the break.

"It was another action packed thriller,. We've had lots of those already this year," M2 Commissioner Chris Economides said. He and Deputy Commissioner Andrew Ross were in attendance at Mercy Healthy Arena to enjoy the back-and-forth action. "We love what Muskegon is doing here, and can't wait for them to be fully back on the field when we kick off our 2021-22 season late this year. Both these teams really displayed what the sport is all about tonight with great heart and hustle for 60 minutes that entertained the crowd from start to finish."

Local soccer star Miguel Flores -- he's a graduate of Muskegon High School -- led the Risers with his four-point night, getting his hat trick all in the first half and adding an assist.

"I think there was a lot of character showed tonight, with all we have been through with COVID and barely having a season,” said Flores, who finished the campaign with a team-leading eight goals. “We were counted out and down, and we wanted to overcome those obstacles. We wanted to keep playing and we got ourselves a wi," FLores told Muskegon's  "“It goes back to the fans. They come and watch these games and they want us to perform. We just want to give it our all, and that’s all it was today. We have guys that are going back home to Rochester and Virginia. We wanted to leave on a good note, and make the fans happy. We feel happy. At the end of the day it was a win-win for us, and it took everything.”

Aldony Mendez had two goals for Muskegon, who got additional scores from Elmedin Zukich, Robert Williamson, Colin O'Keef, and T.J. Ifaturoti.

Colorado opened a quick 2-0 lead on markers by Josue Jimenez and Felix Elias midway through the first.  as seven different Inferno players scored on the night. Robert Jacobs and Francisco Rivas had two each, while  Colorado got singletons from Ismael Morales, Jack Reynolds, and Jorge Velasquez.

The Inferno fell to 3-5 on the season, and will be right back on the pitch Sunday (April 25) when they take on the Chicago Mustangs in Chicago. Game time is 3 p.m. CDT at the Grand Sports Arena.

The Mustangs saw their undefeated record go by the boards in a second game played in Muskegon Saturday, when they were  dominated by the Cleveland Crunch, 14-2. Chicago had defeated the Crunch by a single goal a week earlier in Chicago.

Cleveland jumped out to a 6-0 halftime lead, and peppered the Mustangs with 45 shots on goal.

Kevin Blackwood had the first six-point night in M2 play this year with three goals and three assists to lead the Crunch to a 4-1 mark. Ryan Minnick, Sami Mutemwa, Admir Suljevic and Ma'Cain Srpagling had two goals each, while Dave Jordan, Vinny Bell and Smith Pepper added one goal apiece.

By virtue of the big win, the Crunch have a leg up on an automatic berth to the M2 playoffs later this summer, although that won't be fully decided until the Crunch and Mustangs rematch in Cleveland on May 22 to close out play in games designated as part of the Great Lake Invitational series. The Crunch will next be in action at home on May 8 to take on the Omaha Kings.