Being a goalkeeper at Memorial Field on Tuesday night was an unenviable task.
The Larkin and Lake Zurich boys soccer teams combined for 7 goals, most of which the goalkeepers had little chance of stopping. Fortunately for the host Royals, Erik Rodriguez netted the game-winner with 8:10 remaining for a 4-3 victory in the Pepsi Showdown.
"It was one of those back-and-forth games, whoever scored closest to the end was going to win," Bears coach Mike Schmitz said. "They scored some great goals. We scored some great goals."
The third-seeded Royals (7-1) will play No. 7 seed Metea Valley in the tournament's quarterfinals on Thursday. Time and place of the game is to be determined.
Lake Zurich (3-6-1) controlled the play early on and took the lead 6:03 into the match. Ryan Roach headed a cross back across the top of the 6-yard box. Matt Montemayor chested down the ball and volleyed it past Larkin goalkeeper Aldair Dominguez for a 1-0 lead.
Rodriguez tied the match 4 minutes later on a 25-yard, right-footed blast into the upper right corner of the net that Lake Zurich goalkeeper Mike Savio could not reach.
"You really don't think about (shooting from that far out), you just see the opening and take the shot," Rodriguez said.
John Repplinger gave the Bears the lead again with 13:27 left in the first half with a right-footed shot to the far post.
Larkin scored twice in less than 3 minutes before halftime to take a 3-2 lead. Tito Velazquez headed in a Freddy Alvarez free kick with 7:12 remaining. With 4:23 left, Tony Hernandez blasted a 30-yard, right-footed into the upper right corner that grazed the under side of the cross bar.
"When (Hernandez) has the opportunity we want him to shoot," Larkin coach Ken Hall said. "That third goal, a professional goalie wasn't stopping that. It was in the upper 90. It was a fantastic shot."
Will O'Brien tied it at 3-3 after taking the ball away from the Larkin defense and beat Dominguez.
The match stayed tied until Rodriguez took a pass from Hernandez with his back to goal. He turned to his right and hit a left-footed shot to the far post that hit the side netting, beating Braven Bacardi, who replaced Savio at halftime.
"Erik makes up for a lot of things we do wrong on the field," Hall said.
Huntley wins by forfeit: Today's scheduled Pepsi Showdown game between Huntley and Chicago Lane will be a Huntley win due to the Chicago Public Schools teachers strike. Huntley will play Lyons Thursday in the quarterfinals at a place and time to be determined.