Boys soccer: Powerful St. Pat's rolls past St. Viator
St. Viator boys soccer coach Mike Taylor knew the danger of playing an opponent with the firepower of St. Patrick. After all, the Shamrocks are the No. 7 rated team in the state, and carried a 17-0-2 overall record into the game Wednesday night.
Taylor also suggested just before kickoff at Reed-Dunning Park in Chicago if his club played hard and smart, it could be a 1-0 result -- if not, it might be 6 or 7-0 in favor of the high-flying Shamrocks.
For the first 15 minutes, and with the help of his terrific keeper Matt Marchiori, Taylor's Lions (8-6-1) kept the Shamrocks' attack under wraps.
Unfortunately, it's an 80-minute game and St. Patrick slowly took apart the visitor's defense as it pried them open for 8 second-half goals en route to a 10-1 victory.
The loss drops the Lions behind ESCC front-runners Benet Academy and the Shamrocks, who meet early next week with the league title at stake.
"We defended well at the start, and we actually had them under pressure during the early part of the game. True (Marchiori) saved us a couple of times, but when we stopped defending and they got rolling it was over for us," said Taylor.
"We knew with their technical ability, athleticism and speed we had to do whatever we could to keep this game close in order for us to come out of here with a win. But we didn't, and that was the game."
Two of the Shamrocks' stars and four-year veterans, Luis Salcedo and Aaron Moreno-Lopez, remember last year's 2-1 victory in overtime and admitted that game and close result would not happen to their club this time around with the dream of a second-straight ESCC title still to be realized.
"That was a tough one for us last year, and we knew Taylor would have his team ready for us and maybe that's why we came out a little flat tonight," said Saucedo, who along with all-state candidate Joshua Torres were key figures in the Pat's offensive explosion.
"One of our goals is to win the conference title again, so this was a big game for us and when we finally found our form it was exciting to see us play the way we did," added Moreno.
Marchiori was brilliant all throughout the first half turning around at least four quality chances on frame, three of which came from Torres.
The junior stopped a pair of close-range strikes from Torres, who came into the gamed with 26 goals and would leave with 27, while adding three helpers, giving him 11 on the season.
Ivan A. Guerrero opened the scoring at 23 minutes, before Jonathan Rodriguez, another all-state candidate, doubled the Shamrocks' advantage at the half-hour.
Much of the play was contested in the Lions' half after the intermission particularly during a seven-minute stretch in which the home side bagged 4 goals to jump-start their largest goal-scoring effort on the season.
Jaden Buevas, who scored three times, netted his first at 42 minutes before Torres, Moreno, then Buevas again found the back of the net, none of which Marchiori could be faulted for.
"Matt saved us so many times tonight and a few of those goals scored were not on him, we just couldn't give him enough protection," Taylor said.
Anthony Anderson ended the shutout when it became 8-0 with a nice finish off a Bryce McDonnell assist 13 minutes from time but the home side did not stop from there when it scored twice more before the final whistle.
"This was a game we knew we had to have, and once we got over our slow start we turned in, what I felt was our most complete effort of the season," said a proud Shamrocks coach Kyle McClure.
St. Viator will next play Marist Saturday in Arlington Heights.