Head coach Pablo Rodriguez saw plenty of encouraging signs from his Fort Dodge boys soccer team here Tuesday night.
Making their 2014 debut, the Dodgers (1-0 overall) blanked Humboldt by a 2-0 count at Dodger Stadium.
Juniors Austin Read and Alex Jackson each scored on free kicks for FDSH, which has now won two straight and four of its last five season openers. A year ago, the Dodgers went 6-9-1 overall, improving their victory total by five over the previous campaign.
"I think that our guys played really well (Tuesday)," Rodriguez said. "I was very happy with our performance not just because we won, but I felt like we gave a great effort. It was a chilly night, but we came out and touched well."
Dominating possession time from start to finish, the Dodgers received their first goal from Read in the 20th minute of the first half. Jackson, a midfielder, later found the back of the net with 31:32 remaining in the game. Read and Jackson were both named to the all-CIC Northern Division top squad last spring after combining for nine scores.
"We've been working a lot this year on our free kicks, and it obviously paid off (last evening)," said Rodriguez. "It was nice to see both Austin and Alex come through for us."
Keeper Ethan Schwendemann, another junior, was hardly challenged, posting just two saves. Schwendemann managed three shutouts last season.
"Our pressure defense was excellent all game long," Rodriguez said. "I thought the two Read brothers (Austin and Brady) really showed their aggressiveness out (on the field)."
Jhonatan Merida-Barrios also narrowly missed wide left on another potential tally for the Dodgers midway through the second half. As a team, Fort Dodge collected seven shots on goal.
With the loss, the Wildcats fell to 1-1 on the year. Humboldt was fresh off an 8-1 home triumph over Iowa Falls-Alden on Monday.
Next outing for the Dodgers is Friday at Carroll. The Wildcats welcome Webster City on Tuesday.