MISSOULA — The Missoula Strikers wanted to make the final minutes of Friday's marquee Intermountain Champions Cup game count.

The Missoula Strikers 2003 team led the Greater Seattle Surf 2002 team 3-0 and the Strikers were in position to score again at Fort Missoula Park.

One of Missoula's center midfielders missed a pass, but teammate Marcus Anderson, an incoming freshman at Hellgate, made a heads up play on the ball from the right side of the field. 

"I just had my head right on the ball and just struck it and it went around bottom left," said Anderson, the son of Hellgate's boys' soccer coach Jay Anderson. 

Seattle's goalkeeper, Garrett Lowe, laid out in an attempt to save the ball, but Anderson's strike darted further left than Lowe's hands, netting in the lower left side of the goal.

Anderson's score gave Missoula a 4-0 lead, which held until the final whistle. 

"They were a good team," Anderson said. "They actually played real soccer. Some teams just boot it over people and expect to score.

"... At some points we kinda got lucky. Like on some of our tackles, we won it over, but it probably should have been their ball. They're a great team. They definitely ping it well. They talk really well too."

The Seattle squad made one of the longest treks to Missoula of teams competing in the second annual Intermountain Champions Cup. 

Their drive, according to their head coach Ryan Campbell, was nearly eight hours. The Surf came into Missoula on Thursday. 

"Our club was here last year. We brought three teams. This year we brought two teams back," Campbell said. "We had good experiences. All the players had good experiences here last year. We thought we'd come back and do it again."

One of those good experiences for the players surrounds the different type of competition. 

"It's kinda cool to see different play styles than where we're from," Surf player Niko Tomas said.

Anderson agreed.

"It's awesome," he said of the different competition. "It gets every team better. If one team's really good and one team's mild, it gets both teams better because each team has to find ways to adjust to either team."

OF NOTE: Years next to teams, like Missoula Strikers 2003, indicate what year the players on the team were born. 

Amie Just covers Griz football and Missoula-area preps. Follow her on Twitter @Amie_Just or email her at Amie.Just@406mtsports.com.

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