Boys soccer: Elgin adds blemish to West Chicago's record
Upstate Eight Conference games between Elgin and West Chicago are often unforgettable battles regardless of the records.
Wednesday night was no different, although it paired a Maroons squad that's having a good year with a Wildcats one that's have an outstanding one.
Elgin made the trek into West Chicago and held on for a thrilling 3-2 victory to keep West Chicago from finishing its conference schedule undefeated.
"It's always a tough one when we play West Chicago," Maroons coach David Borg said. "Whenever we play West Chicago, Larkin or Streamwood, you can throw the records out. It's always a good game. All these guys know each other and they're playing for pride, but it's always better to win your last one going into the playoffs than to lose it."
Elgin (11-5-3, 3-3-3) played with confidence from the get-go and got a huge boost just a little more than four minutes into the action when Ivan Sanchez buried a shot for a 1-0 lead.
West Chicago (16-2-3, 7-1-1) had opportunities to net the equalizer, including on five corner kicks in the opening half, but had nothing to show for it until Jahir Martinez found an opening and made the Maroons pay for it with the game-tying goal with 36:45 still remaining in the game.
The Wildcats haven't had to come from behind often this season. Their only other loss was a 1-0 decision against St. Patrick on Sept. 21.
"It was a good opportunity to find ourselves in that situation to see how we'd respond," Wildcats coach Jose Villa said. "I was happy with how we responded and I think if we would've had a couple more minutes we maybe get the tying goal. I felt like we had the momentum."
Jean Padilla-Lopez's breakaway tally with 24:41 remaining gave the Maroons the lead once again.
"I saw the play happen," he said. "It was a long ball and I won a header from the middle and came in and controlled it. I took a touch and let it rip."
Elgin then extended its lead and seemingly put the game away at 3-1 with 17:27 remaining after Eduardo Berrum converted a penalty kick, just slipping his shot past the goalkeeper.
"He got a hand on it, but not enough," Berrum said. "It had the heart to keep going. I was trying to go top left corner but didn't hit the ball like I wished, but fortunately it went in, which was great for us."
It proved to be a huge goal. Moises Morfin scored with 2:57 left to pull the Wildcats to within 3-2 and give them confidence and momentum that they would net the game-tying goal before regulation ended. But they didn't.
"It's a big win," Berrum said. "I think this means a lot because at the beginning of the season we weren't at our best, but we picked it up. It doesn't matter how we started but how we end and we've been playing pretty good. We were focused and knew what we needed to do today."
West Chicago hadn't allowed three or more goals in a game this season.
"I told the guys to think about how we feel right now at the end of a regular-season conference game and multiply that in a regional or playoff game," Villa said. "You don't want to have this feeling. We want to be able to dictate where we're at and kind of see what we have to do to get back on track."