The Jefferson City Jays are learning how to win the close ones.
"We have to show that we can win 1-0," Jays coach Scott Blake said Thursday night after Jefferson City opened play in the Richard Wilson Classic with a 1-0 victory against the Battle Spartans at the 179 Soccer Park. "To get the one that you need and then play with that 1-0 lead for an extended period, that was good to see."
The Jays tallied the lone goal with a little more than four minutes remaining in the first half.
Silas Porter was credited with the goal after the ball went in after a scramble in front of the Battle net.
"To get the one you need and then get the win somehow is important," Blake said.
The Jays got the win by playing good defense the remainder of the contest. The Spartans had four shots on goal in the second half.
"We defended well, we didn't give them a lot of clean looks at the goal," Blake said.
But it wasn't necessarily a thing of beauty for Jefferson City.
"We had chances to get the momentum back, we just didn't play well enough to hold it," Blake said. "We couldn't hold the ball enough or we would have a chance to knock it in deep and we wouldn't. Ball placement was not great."
Blake knows the Jays can't make a living counting on goals like the one Thursday for the remainder of the season.
"We've got to generate our shooting opportunities," Blake said. "We can't count on getting that special goal or getting one that just pinballs around and eventually goes in.
"Those are great to have, but those aren't going to drive your season."
Jefferson City (5-3) will face Lutheran: St. Charles in the Classic at 5 p.m. today.
"They can be stingy and that can be a big challenge for us because right now, we're counting on other teams making mistakes or giving something to us," Blake said. "We're not generating consistent opportunities and that's something we are focusing on this weekend."
Jefferson City will wrap up Classic play at 11 a.m. Saturday against Joplin.