As the saying goes, Derby took what the defense gave it.
The Goddard defense gave it a lot.
It was not necessarily the plan. Derby defender Austin Swindler said the intent was to play it safe in the backfield.
“At first, I wanted to be defensive-minded and make sure no goals go in – no unnecessary goals,” Swindler said. “As the game goes on, we realized we could take these guys on, so we went at them.”
Swindler, along with fellow cogs in the back like Matt Chapman and Dimitri Starr, gutted the Goddard defense for easy yardage up the sideline. It gave the offense extra attackers and short, clean passes in a 4-0 victory spent largely on Goddard's side of the field.
“Usually the place where you win the ball, that's usually where the space is. That's usually where we want to attack immediately,” Swindler said. “That's what a lot of times (Derby Head Coach) Paul (Burke) tells us to do. That's usually what we look for, and if it's open, we'll take that.”
Chase Sacket sparked the offensive assault six minutes into the first half.
“All year we've been working on getting it in on those crosses on the far post,” Sacket said. “Julio (Vielmas) just got one in, and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. My first touch was kind of awful, but I saw the far post and he left it open.”
With eight minutes left in the half, defender David Bustos blitzed into the Goddard box. An infraction gave him a penalty kick that he skidded into the net to send Derby up 2-0 into halftime.
Bustos added an assist in the second half as his pass helped Clayton Matzen cross up the keeper for a goal. Defender Marcus McKee notched Derby's fourth goal off a pass from Sacket 19 minutes into the half.
“Today was pure mental,” said Ryan Rooney, Goddard head coach. “The heart is there. It's that focus we have to maintain. Derby has a great team. They pass the ball incredibly well.”
The Panthers' passing fell off later in the second half. Sacket said it needs to be an area of focus as the season winds down.
“We wish we would have been more patient in the second half. Some of us got a little goal-hungry,” he said.
Edgar Vaquera kept the Lions silent in goal for the Panthers. Derby secured a double-digit win total for the year, pumping its record to 10-4.
The Lions (5-7-2) allowed more than three goals for the first time this season.
“They want to get better. That's all you can ask for. They want to get better constantly,” Rooney said. “I think it's going to take believing they're as good as they really are. There is plenty of heart, plenty of talent on this team.
“Winning fixes everything.”