Boys soccer: Energized West Chicago overtakes Streamwood
Energy, team chemistry, communication and a strong desire to win aren't things you can load up and bring on the bus with you when you hit the road for an Upstate Eight Conference soccer game.
West Chicago was without them during the first half of Wednesday's game at Streamwood, but the Wildcats somehow found all of them during halftime and they accounted for the difference in the second half of a 3-1 victory.
"It was evident to us in the first half that we weren't even close to our expectations so we got on them at halftime about not fulfilling them," West Chicago coach Jose Villa said. "Our first half was the first 40 minutes of soccer that we've played this season where the energy was down, the team energy was not there, our communication was not there and we were just making careless mistakes."
Streamwood (3-3-2, 1-1) somewhat took advantage of West Chicago's lethargic start, capitalizing just five minutes into the action when Aldo Jimenez assisted Alejandro Morales.
The Sabres had some other scoring chances, including a near miss from Jose Banuelos midway through the half that caromed off a post, but had to settle for just the 1-0 lead at the break.
"After the first 5 to 10 minutes, I thought we controlled the first with our chances, our overlapping runs and guys getting involved," Streamwood coach Matt Polovin said. "It's nice to finally get that goal and we had a few other chances, and (West Chicago) really couldn't keep up with us."
That changed in the second half.
"So at halftime I told them to keep your foot on the pedal and they almost did the opposite," Polovin said. "They had a little bit more of the run of play and it's just one of those games, I guess. It's unfortunate and West Chicago has a nice team, but were they better than us today?"
They certainly were over the course of the final 40 minutes, as the Wildcats seized control of the game, starting with Alejandro Cadena's header from Jahir Martinez early in the second half.
"We talked about how we had to change our energy and we just went in there and did what we know how do with the pass and to attack the spaces," Cadena said. "That led to our first goal and from then on our energy kept increasing."
This has the makings of being one of the most special seasons in a long time for the Wildcats and they are hungry for success. In the second half, they played like they were hungry.
"I was kind of hungry for that goal because I knew we needed it," Cadena said. "Our energy just had to change so I tried my best to help my team and after that goal I knew we were going to keep on going at it until we took the 'W' home."
The Wildcats (7-0-1, 3-0), who have already won more conference games than last year, deposited the game-winner with 7:46 left to play when Diego Cortes unselfishly slotted a pass ahead to Isaias Palacios. The feed was just out of the reach of Streamwood's all-everything defender Jose Ibarra and Palacios punched it in for the 2-1 lead.
"Diego had a chance to score the goal but he told me he saw me in a better position," Palacios said. "Then he gave me the ball and I just tapped it in."
Palacios then dumped a pass to Moises Morfin with 33.7 seconds left to give the Wildcats some insurance.
"This was a big test for us," Villa said. "I think we've been down twice now and this was a big test to overcome. Responding in the second half was huge for us. I'm super proud of this group."