Maine West poured in 6 goals for the second time in less than a week, thanks in part to a 4-goal explosion from high-scoring striker Nelson Herrera in a 6-2 victory over crosstown rival Maine East in a Central Suburban North contest Thursday in Des Plaines.
Herrera certainly had plenty of help from teammate Alonso Guerrero as the Warriors improved to 6-3-2 overall and 1-0-1 in the CSL North.
Herrera got his team up and running right away, with his first goal coming in the 13th minute. He put another one in at 25 minutes before striking for a pair of lightning-quick goals less than 60 seconds apart in the final minutes of the match.
"I'm lucky to have a fast, creative and quick midfield behind me who look for me and can get me the ball," said Herrera, who's scored 4 goal in four different games already this fall. "Even though they aren't the biggest midfielders around, they have to be one of the best in the area."
"We are fortunate to have a player which everyone wants to have, and that's a true finisher," said Maine West coach Alan Matan. "But the thing about Nelson is that he's very unselfish, a terrific teammate who will do whatever it takes to win.
"We've been in a bit of a scoring drought against our first three conference opponents, including a 0-0 draw with Highland Park on Tuesday, while scoring just once in those games. So it was great to put a few into the back of the net tonight, and hopefully it's a sign of more to come."
With Christian Ayala and Miguel Lopez running the midfield show, Herrera and Guerrero were giving the Demons (3-4-1) all sorts of trouble in the first half hour. If not for some wonderful work from keeper David Patyk, the visitors could have been chasing more than the 3 goals they'd allowed.
Lopez made it 3-0 in the 36th minute after another quality stop by Patyk gave an unfortunate rebound inside the box, allowing the senior to drive in a close-range shot.
"I thought we began to get ourselves back into the game during the last 8-10 minutes of the first half, but we came out really flat," said Maine East ocach Vic DiPrizio. "Although we made a little run with those back-to-back goals, it was just too much (Herrera) for us. He's really one of the best in the business at what he does in this state."
The visitors struggled to find Narmsn Keso, Matt Coronado and Yousif Khoshaba to ignite their own attack, with much of the credit for that going to the Warriors back line led by Jonathan Schmitz along with sound midfield work.
Maine East was looking for an off-sides flag when Lopez beat the Demons backline to make it 4-0 in the 52nd minute. East drew a little closer when Coronado took advantage of some confusion, and Alex Lulek converted a PK after a handball in the box in the 70th minute.
Herrera ended any Demons comeback hopes when he caught up to a superb early crossfield ball from Guerrero, then ran past two defenders before beating Patyk. Soon after, Herrera thrilled the home fans with a brilliant touch up and over Patyk.
"This is a fun team to coach, and one that loves to play the game," said Matan of his junior-dominated group. "They enjoy each other, and we're focused on ending a three-year run which has seen this program not get beyond the regional final despite having the talent and record to do so."
The Warriors host Chicago Taft on Monday to help kick-off homecoming week at Maine West.