After watching his club give away two leads this past week, one could imagine what Wheeling boys soccer coach Ed Uhrik was wondering as his team built a 2-goal advantage early Saturday morning against Mundelein (1-2-1) as the final day of the 27th Warm-Up Invitational got under way at Glenbrook South.
Uhrik's club didn't let him down this time, though, showing its mettle and desire in holding off the Mustangs to earn their first victory of the season 2-0 as pool play ended in Glenview.
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"It was tough watching (them) go up twice this week, then just totally breaking down and end up losing games we could have won -- and we told the guys before this game we could easily have been 3-1 instead of 0-4," said Uhrik. "But we talked a lot about that, and maybe they learned from it all to give us a very nice win."
Mundelein was chasing the lead after Fabian Acosta slotted past the diving Alejandro Espinoza in the seventh minute.
"That was a tough goal to give up, but we didn't come out ready to play, regardless of that goal, and although it was nice to see the boys come back and finish the last 15 minutes of the half strong, it just isn't and wasn't enough," said Mundelein coach Ernie Billittier, "and they have to realize this is an 80-minute game, and their focus has to be that way from the very beginning."
In the final quarter of the first period the Mustangs found their pace with the help of Adair Lucio, Luis Marin and Armando Gomez, who each had a hand in creating a handful of opportunities, with Gomez going over the bar from 10 yards.
But with the help of junior captain Nathan Laude, the Wildcats' defense remained air-tight to hold onto its 1-0 cushion going into the break.
"Nathan reads the game so well, and he is our leader back there, and someone that we're going to rely on all season," said Uhrik.
From just inside the mid-line, junior Luis Herrera sent Wildcats top player Jose Garcia through, and the junior showed a cool, calm touch when he finished with a nice touch past Espinoza, who had little chance to stop the shot which doubled the lead just five minutes into the second half.
The game opened up halfway through the second half as the Mustangs committed more numbers forward, but a quick challenge off the line by Wheeling keeper Javier Ocampo stopped potential trouble when Juan Villalba got through. Sure hands saved Gomez, who collected an excellent early ball from out of the back.
"We played well in our 2-2 draw with Glenbrook South the other day," said Billittier, "and I was hoping that effort would carry over into today. But we'll take a step back and get ourselves ready for Carmel on Monday, which is always one of our biggest games of the year."