Boys soccer: Palatine cruises past Conant
Three first half goals -- two of which came from Omar Marin -- helped Palatine to a well deserved 4-1 boys soccer victory Tuesday night at Chic Anderson Stadium.
The Pirates (3-8-2, 2-5-0 Mid-Suburban League) would dominate visiting Conant during the first half with a comprehensive effort on both sides of the ball, especially in the attacking end where the Pirates opened the contest with pace, energy and plenty of purpose to put the visitors on their back foot.
"We didn't know exactly what to expect from Palatine but they sure did not look like a team that came into tonight with just two victories on the season thus far," said Conant coach Jason Franco.
"They put us under pressure from the opening whistle, and you could see their confidence continue to grow particularly after their first goal and from that point forward, we were chasing the game."
Franco had hoped back-to-back wins over Hersey and Hoffman Estates would be the catalyst in his team's bid to finish in the middle of the table in the MSL at season's end, but Tuesday's loss will make that wish harder to achieve.
"That might have been our best half of soccer of the season. Our trouble has been finishing our chances, and playing a full 80 minutes each time out," said Pirates center-back Kevin Reynolds. "(Coach Willie) Filian really let us have it yesterday at training and I think that was the wake up message we all needed to hear because tonight we came out and played soccer the way we know we can."
The home side had to know a goal would be coming after Matt Geisel unleashed a wicked smash on frame. Reynolds headed a Pirates' corner wide and a pair of shots from in close were blocked on the way into the box, all before the 12th minute.
Marin would use a nifty side-footed one-timer to steer in the opener at 14 minutes with teammate Aaron Bustamante recording the helper.
Geisel doubled the advantage at 33 minutes when he was allowed time and space to tee-up his 25-yard effort.
Another cool finish in close by Marin, with an assist from Wiktor Pajak, made it 3-0 four minutes before the break.
"We've had some very good halves of soccer against Schaumburg and Buffalo Grove, but the difference tonight was we finished our chances and that was the difference between losing those games and getting a nice result," said Filian.
Ifet Mrkalj would breathe some life into the Cougars (5-5-2, 2-4-1) just after the intermission with a wonderful goal that came when the senior redirected a free kick serve from Connor Conte in the 43rd minute.
However, when the Cougars were caught napping in their own box, James Hawran ran freely onto a Ray Navarrete ball at the back post to increase the Pirates' advantage back to three goals at 4-1.