Junior forward Jared Martinelli sent a corner kick into the box from the left hand side of the pitch. After a scurry for the ball, which bounced around for a few seconds, freshman forward Olli Tynkkynen found himself with the ball at his feet right inside the edge of the penalty box.
The product from Lahti, Finland, proceeded to rocket a shot toward the upper right hand corner of Sacramento State’s net. The ball ricocheted off the crossbar, but bounced straight down and over the goal line for Temple’s first goal of the 2014 season.
This was 14 minutes, 56 seconds into the game. Just shy of 14 minutes later, Tynkkynen deposited his second ball in the back of the net off a cross from the right side of the field from sophomore defender Matt Mahoney.
After all, scoring goals is exactly what Tynkkynen was recruited for.
“[Olli] is a very clinical finisher,” coach Dave MacWilliams said. “He gets in the box and he gets his opportunities, he’s going to finish. … You can see what happens when we build up, knock balls in the box. He’s a very dangerous guy in the box.”
Tynkkynen’s two-goal match was part of a 3-0 victory for Temple against Sacramento State. The Owls’ third score came off Chas Wilson’s toe after a similar scurry to Olli’s first goal occurred after a corner from the right-hand side of the field. That occurred with 11:13 left in the match, after the second half was delayed by a half-hour due to lightning.
Overall, Temple played a more complete game Sunday than what happened against Drexel on Friday. The Owls outshot Sacramento State 17-3, and also upended the Hornets in the corner kick category by a tally of 6-2.
It’s all part of a learning process that Temple is going through as each individual player tries to figure out how his game works into the style of play MacWilliams is trying to create.
“It always takes time when you have new guys around you,” Tynkkynen said. “We [have] started to see [how] each other plays, and it’s getting better every time.”
When the clock hit all zeros on Sunday, it also marked the first clean sheet for senior goalkeeper Dan Scheck and the defense which carried Temple throughout last year.
Sophomore defender Matt Mahoney said that the chemistry between him and the other three members of the Owls’ backline is mostly just a product of college life.
“Robbie [Sagel], me, and Stef [Mueller], we were in the same grade. We were roommates last year,” Mahoney said. “We’ve been playing with each other for the past year now, and we’re good friends.”
Mahoney added that this friendship isn’t restricted by age.
“Jonah [Williams] is older, but we’re still tight off the field and good friends, which always helps,” Mahoney said. “On the field we work hard together all the time, so the chemistry comes from that.”
Senior goalie Dan Scheck wasn’t tested in net for the most part, although he did continue to play aggressively, coming off his line several times. Mahoney said it’s easy to play in front of someone who knows when to run out and cut opposing offenses off.
“It’s great that you have a keeper you can trust when you make a mistake,” Mahoney said. “He’s always on point, always ready to come out cleaning any mistakes that we have.”
In terms of midfield play, MacWilliams said that area of the game has improved, although his players are still working out the kinks due to inexperience.
“We have four or five new guys out in the field, so I think it’s gonna take an adjustment,” MacWilliams said. “But I thought they battled, and worked the game plan that we had today.”
MacWilliams added that he was impressed with how his midfielders shut down Sacramento’s attack down the middle of the field. Aside from shots off set pieces, the Hornets were unable to really able to generate anything offensively in the center of the pitch.
Next up for Temple will be a trip upstate to the No. 15 team in the nation, Penn State. MacWilliams said this week will be revolved around looking at the tape.
“We’ll be going over some game film,” MacWilliams said. “We’ll look at ours, we’ll look at theirs and try to put a game plan together. They’re a very talented team. … It’s tough to win [at Penn State], it’s a great facility and great atmosphere, so I think this is a big game for us early in the year.”
Steve Bohnel can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @SteveSportsGuy1.