Daniel Krajewski's 65th-minute goal handed visiting Leyden a 3-2 loss Tuesday night, guaranteeing Addison Trail a second-place finish in the West Suburban Gold boys soccer standings.
The junior put the Blazers (13-4-1, 5-1-0) back on top for good after the Eagles came back from an early 2-goal deficit.
Addison Trail started brightly but faded later and allowed the Eagles to make a contest of what at first appeared to be an easy night for coach Ryan Dini's side.
"That really turned into a tight match," said the Blazers coach, who has helped guide Addison Trail to its highest finish in the division since 2001 and the No. 2 seed in the York sectional. "We've allowed opponents to get back into games two or three times this season just as we did tonight, but tonight we did well in getting the lead back and then holding on against a very good team in Leyden."
Blazers midfielder Jorge Levya was in the center of nearly every good thing his club achieved on this blustery, cold evening, beginning with the first goal of the match and ending with a brillliant assist on Krajewski's game-winner.
"Jorge is the real deal," said Dini of his senior who shares team captain responsibilities with Angelo Amato and Edwin Regalado.
Amato was the architect of the opening score at 10 minutes when he drove his wind-aided free kick to the back post, where Levya found enough touch to slip the ball past sophomore keeper Konrad Dziedzic.
With the Eagles (13-6-2, 3-3-0) struggling to find their form, the Blazers wasted little time doubling their lead.
Levya was at the center of the Blazers' second goal at 10 minutes. After he, Krajewski and Trey Smith each had a touch, Smith beat Dziedzic after an initial save sent a rebound out past the 6-yard box; Smith finished with a nice side-footed touch from in close.
"I think we got a little too comfortable, thinking that a 2-0 lead would hold up for the rest of the game," said Levya. "But we stopped playing the way we were, and we let them back into the game."
The Eagles battled brilliantly to get themselves close at the break, then level at the hour mark. They had the Blazers on their heels as Juan Recendez, Tony Guzman, Christian Hernandez and Miguel Gonzalez gave their club and coach Mark Valintis the type of work rate which was missing for the better part of the first half.
"We had a terrible start, and an even worse finish," said Valintis, "but in between, we played through the middle, possessed, and got a lot of our guys involved in the attack to finally play the way we're capable of."
Hernandez nearly beat Blazers keeper Christian Aguilar to a 50-50 ball at 31 minutes.
The sequence started a strong final 10 minutes before time for the visitors, and after Hernandez and forced another save from Aguilar, Recendez bagged his seventh goal of the season when he found the back post with a nifty attempt from the right side that bounced in.
Recendez, Hernandez and Guzman created a steady supply of chances as Leyden dominated the early exchanges after intermission. Eagles freshman Albert Arabik tied things up at 58 minutes as the lanky striker, from a nearly impossible angle, drove his shot from the right endline into the far netting.
"I thought when we fought so hard to get back in the game to grab back the momentum that it would carry over, but it just didn't, and that was very disappointing to watch us fail to keep a good thing going," said Valintis.
It didn't take long for the Blazers, and Krajewski to regain the upper hand.
A well-played ball from Levya pried open Leyden in its own end. Krajewski sprinted to finding an extra gear, collected the loose ball and fired just past and under a charging Dziedzic from 30 yards to score.
"We're feeling very good about the upcoming postseason," said Dini. "This was a well-deserved victory tonight, and for us to finish second in a strong soccer conference like ours shows we can compete with anybody in the playoffs."