The New Orleans Jesters battled from behind and earned a 3-2 victory against the Nashville Metros at Pan-American Stadium on Friday night.
Former Jesuit standout Patrick Mullins scored the go-ahead goal in the 73rd minute off a corner by defender James Burgins. Mullins received the corner and headed it off the crossbar, but he gathered the rebound and pounded it into the net.
The Jesters fell behind in the second half after taking a 1-0 lead into halftime and dominating possession in the first half.
New Orleans (3-2) took the early lead when forward Paris Simmons scored in the first minute. Simmons took advantage of a poorly cleared ball by the Metros (1-3-2) and placed it past the keeper.
In the opening half, the Jesters outshot the Metros 8-3. The Metros only tested Jesters goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell once in the opening half, a 35-yard shot by forward Jean Tshimpaka.
Missed opportunities in the first half prevented the Jesters from taking a bigger lead into halftime. In the third minute, Reece Wilson failed to capitalize on an open net, sailing the ball over the crossbar.
New Orleans nearly scored again minutes before halftime when a header by midfielder Oliver Hewitt-Fisher grazed off the crossbar. Simmons failed to score on the rebound.
"I felt there we should have had three or four goals in the first half," Coach Kenny Farrell said. "We missed too many opportunities in the first half."
Farrell said his team let up after taking the early lead.
"They got complacent I think," he said. "We were controlling the game in all aspects."
Nashville came out firing in the second half, quickly scoring two goals to take the lead. The Metros took advantage of several penalties on the Jesters' side of the field.
Metros midfielder Francisco Maciel launched a shot from about 30 yards in the 51st minute past the outstretched hands of Tarbell into the upper left corner.
The Metros took the lead three minutes later. Jesters defenders failed to clear the ball off another free kick, and Nashville defender Samba Amadoubah blasted a shot off his left foot into the bottom right corner to put the Metros up 2-1.
Farrell said he expected the Jesters to have trouble defending free kicks.
"They serve great balls into the box," Farrell said. "I watched them last week, and I always felt the biggest danger was getting quality balls into the final third into our penalty area because they're very big. That 10-minute period where we gave up two goals was probably our worst period."
During halftime, Farrell said his players were told to find a killer instinct if they found themselves in a hole in the second half.
New Orleans found that extra energy and responded in the 61st minute with the equalizer. Defender Ben Tayi crossed a ball into the box from the right side, and Simmons bounced a header off the left post and in for his second goal.
Mullins provided the winning goal 12 minutes later.
"They got some urgency in them after Nashville went up 2-1," Farrell said. "Nashville came back because they're a good organized team. They scored a couple goals, and we got more of a killer instinct."