Boys soccer: Mayer's clutch goal lifts Fremd over Rolling Meadows
In a moment of brilliance, Will Mayer helped Fremd take a decisive step toward claiming the MSL West title.
The junior stunned host Rolling Meadows in the 79th minute with a brilliant one-timer to break a goal-less game to give the Vikings a dramatic, but controversial, 1-0 victory Tuesday night at Robert Hoese Field.
With this victory, the Vikings (13-1-1, 9-0-0-27) are now four points clear of Barrington (7-0-2-23) and can close out the Broncos Thursday with another three points should they defeat Hersey.
"Rolling Meadows played well enough to win tonight," said Vikings coach Steve Keller. "We were not ourselves. (Some) of that was on ourselves, but credit (Rolling Meadows) who defended well, kept things compact, and played with much more energy than we did from start to finish."
"We showed we could play with the No. 1 team in state. (It's) something we can be proud of. It's just too bad we couldn't get at least one point to stay even with Hersey," said Joe Salemi, who was a key figure in the Mustangs' (11-3-2, 6-2-2-20) defensive stand in the center of the park that neutralized a Vikings club that has outscored league opponents 23-1 thus far.
With the defeat, the Mustangs now are chasing Hersey (21-20) along with Prospect (20) with just Wheeling remaining on its schedule, while the Huskies have Fremd on Thursday before finishing with Buffalo Grove.
While the Vikings had the ball at least 75% of the time in the first half, they were unable to find their rhythm through the run of play. And they were not as sharp in the final third when they got close -- thanks in part to the Mustangs back line led by center-backs Aidan O'Brien and Ethan Kossack, with Luke Bieda and Alex Puciaty providing excellent support on the outside.
Ramon Orozco, who has enjoyed a wonderful season between the sticks for the Mustangs, made a terrific point-blank save on Eli Schoffstall's one-timer in the 26th minute. His counterpart, Robby Remian, came to the rescue later in the match when the home side was coming dangerously close to finding the opener.
Remain stayed with a redirected attempt from Salemi off a long free kick out of the back from Kossack that would surely have found the back of the net.
Andrew Flores was close to scoring for the Mustangs in the final 10 minutes but was unable to find the back of the net.
The defining moment in this hard-fought thriller came in the 79th minute when Brett Olson thought one of his men was fouled in front of the Mustangs bench.
When the referee gave the ball to the Vikings on a throw-in, and in the opinion of Olson not allow his players to recover properly, a quick throw to Demitri Vlahos proved disastrous.
Vlahos burst free up the left side to the end line where he delivered an inch-perfect cross to Mayer at the back post where he unloaded the game-winner high into the far inside netting.
"When Demitri went end line, I knew he was going to cross the ball to the back post, so I was ready to hit (it) when it came to me," said Mayer, who was left alone long enough to strike.
"We played a great game for 80 minutes against the No. 1 team in the state, and I was disappointed the referee (first) didn't give us the foul, and (then) not letting our guys get back because they had moved forward thinking the ball was coming to us," said Olson. "We played well enough to win, Steve (Keller) agreed, but now we'll have to regroup, go out and take care of our own business on Thursday, and hope for some help to give us a chance to win the division."