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Cougars stall Ignition, earn 20-10 victory on the road

January 4, 2008 - Major Indoor Soccer League 2 (MISL 2) - California Cougars News Release

Southfield, MI - Jan. 4, 2008 - The high powered Detroit Ignition (8-4) offense was no match for the steady California Cougars (7-4) defense. The Cougars use a staggering 23 blocks and 11 fourth quarter saves by Sanaldo to earn the 20-10 victory at Compuware Sports Arena. Semir Mesanovic finished with seven points including three goals and an assist. He gave the Cougars the game winning goal and their fourth straight road victory.

Despite 51 Detroit shots on goal and the services of star defender Ryan Hall, the Cougars defense was able to stall the Ignition attack for the victory. Cougar defenders Evan McNeley and Matt Caution finished with seven blocks apiece for 14 of the teams 23 stops. Brian Farber, Marcos Chantel and Semir Mesanovic added two blocks each and combined for six of the Cougars nine goals.

Farber had the first goal of the game at the 6:22 mark. It was his first of two goals on the night and was assisted by Naldo. The Ignition countered with a two point goal by 2006-07 Major Indoor Soccer League MVP Jamar Beasley almost five minutes later in the first, it happened during a power play.

With the score locked at two apiece the Cougars answered with a Mesanovic goal. It gave the Cougars their second lead of the game and was the first of three on the night for Mesanovic. Chris Handsor earned the assist as the score happened during the restart.

California led 4-2 in the second quarter until Johnathan Greenfield followed Mesanovic's goal at the 12:32 point of the second. The Ignition tied the game at four, but would rattle off two unanswered scores in the third quarter. Detroit team captain Droo Callahan scored two straight times to give the Ignition the 8-4 lead.

That lead held through most of the third until the Cougars offense erupted for four unanswered goals. Caution scored his second goal of the season with less than a minute remaining in the quarter. That goal brought the Cougars within two. They would then tie it after a shoot out goal scored by Mesanovic. Ignition keeper Danny Waltman was called for blue card penalty against Naldo and that forced in back-up Tomer Chencinski. Mesanovic beat the reserve keeper and for the second time this season was able to convert on the penalty forced opportunity.

Antonio Sutton would be the next to score for California. His goal gave the Cougars their third lead of the game and from that point in the third (14:49) the team would not look back.

Mesanovic scored his third and final goal just 2:54 into the fourth. The goal gave him six points on the night, and counted as the game winner. Mesanovic finished with a team high seven points in the win.

Nelson Santana followed with a gorgeous drive against the Ignition defense to help extend the lead to 14-10 at the 10:28 mark. Marcos Chantel and Brian Farber wrapped things up with back-to-back three point goals to close out the game. Chantel's goal was the first of the season for the defender. He played extended minutes in place of the injured Hall.

Cougars' goalkeeper Sanaldo came back from a crushing defeat by the New Jersey Ironmen with a stunning 23 save performance against one of the league's best teams. Sanaldo was brilliant against his former squad as he saved 11 shots in the fourth quarter alone. He faced 28 shots in the game by Detroit.

The Cougars won their fourth straight road game in front of 3,929 disappointed fans at Compuware Arena. The team returns home tomorrow night to play the Chicago Storm. Chicago also lost its Friday night game to La Raza de Monterry, 16-14 in Chicago. All three first place teams lost Friday night, New Jersey fell 15-2 to Baltimore at First Mariner Arena. There is now a four way tie atop the MISL. Chicago, Detroit, New Jersey and Milwaukee all share the top spot with 8-4 records. California is half game out in the standings.

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