Boys soccer: Fremd downs Prospect to stay in command of MSL division race
Fremd maintained its position on top of the Mid-Suburban West boys soccer standings with a 1-0 victory over visiting Prospect Thursday night at Hildebrandt Stadium in Palatine.
After a scoreless first half, sophomore Will Mayer put the Vikings (7-3-0) into the lead in the 67th minute off a terrific helper from Leo Akashi to help coach Steve Keller's club earn an important win to stay 3 points clear of Barrington.
The Vikings now have 24 overall points, with just one game remaining against Schaumburg next week, while Barrington sits with 21 points, with both Prospect and Elk Grove left on its schedule.
"It wasn't one of our better efforts of the season. It was certainly a game that Prospect could have won also," said Keller. "Prospect had a lot of the play in the first half -- too many mental errors on our behalf -- but we played better after the break, and got a big goal from Mayer who gave us a good effort up top all throughout the game."
The Knights (4-5-1, 4-4-1) set about making a positive start to the contest, and nearly did so after the opening whistle having a chance to hit the opener taken away from Eryk Limanowka, if not for a fearless challenge of his line, by keeper Joey Gillespie just two minutes into the match.
"We had our chances tonight, especially myself and we created other chances in a first half that I thought we outplayed them in but we lacked the intensity in the second half that we showed in the first," said Limanowka.
The senior, along with Declan Flanagan, Gabriel Predescu and Alejandro Martinez, were a force during the first 40 minutes, forcing the home side to defend more than it would have liked, despite having the wind at its back.
Both Gillespie and his counterpart between the sticks for the Knights, Cole Connor, enjoyed an impressive 80 minutes of play, each taking command of their box particularly on set pieces, corners and deep long throws to dash the hopes of their opponents.
Mayer would take aim on the left side after teammate Ryan Sapiente set him free with a well-placed serve out of the back but his snap shot nicked the near post during a nice sequence by the Vikings in the 48th minute.
Flanagan went close in the 56th minute, before Predescu sent his attempt over the bar shortly thereafter.
Mayer would have the Senior Night crowd up on its feet when he took a nifty flick from Akashi, burst past his man up the left to break free of his defender before finishing in close with a deadly touch.
"Leo gave me a great flick on the left to help me get into the box," said Mayer.
"Our first half of play was especially good. From back-to-front, we did just about everything very well except finish our chances," said Knights coach Mike Andrews, who saw his club's four-game win streak end.
"If we had played the second half like we did in the first, maybe the result is a little different at the end."