Boys soccer: West Aurora handles Metea Valley
There's no place like the soccer pitch.
West Aurora had another strong performance on its home turf on Saturday afternoon, winning its 14th straight home game with a 3-1 nonconference victory over Metea Valley.
The Blackhawks (9-0-0) have not lost at home since dropping a 1-0 decision to Elgin on Oct. 6, 2018, but they needed some stern words from coach Joe Sustersic at halftime to keep their streak alive.
"You can't just show up, especially against a team that's structurally solid like Metea (Valley) is," he said. "You've got to outwork and outplay them and we didn't do much of that in the first half."
The Mustangs (1-6-1) lost goalkeeper Oscar Mejia for the afternoon after he was carded after tackling West Aurora's Zachary Thompson with 2:44 left in the first half. Backup keeper, freshly called up junior Dana Brisbon from the JV squad, denied Thompson's PK with a diving knock to his right, but Thompson found Jaziel Enriquez on the ensuing corner kick.
"Well, we were tied and just looking to put one in," Enriquez said. "I saw it in the air and just dove for the header and it went in."
The lead didn't last for long as the Mustangs proved resilient, tying the game at 1-1 with only 4.9 seconds before halftime as Adrian Gonzalez took a corner that Nick Sanchez took a swing at but missed while Austin Whittaker proceeded to finish it.
"This is the best team we've played all year, they're awesome," Mustangs coach Josh Robinson said. "And I'm beyond proud with what (we) did. The guys know it's about playing, enjoying these moments, and treating every game like a big game. I loved the attitude and energy of the boys."
Sustersic's team didn't arrive back on the field for the second half until the last second, but 99 seconds later they were ahead 2-1 after Enriquez finished a gorgeous pass from Thompson with 38:21 still left to play.
"We had to use our outside mids more (in the second half) and that's exactly what we did," Thompson said. "We played Loretto (Lopez) out wide and he played a great ball into me and I was able to put it across to Jaziel to finish."
Henry Moreno and Drew Marquardt were among the Mustangs with chances to try to draw their team even, but that second goal proved elusive once again. They've scored twice in a game just once this spring.
"I really think we were in the game throughout the second half too," Mustangs senior defender Adam Casselman said. "It was a really dynamic game. Both teams had chances. We let up some and couldn't get it in the net, but we made some mistakes defensively too."
Thompson was able to sneak past Brisbon and quickly send a shot before defenders could converge on the scene with 3:31 left to seal the victory.
"I was able to get in and really relieve the pressure off us by getting that next goal," he said. "It's been a very good year. We got off to a hot start and hopefully we can keep this streak going."