Thornton Co-op coach David Gonzalez isn’t much for revenge.
So having lost to Romeoville 3-2 in overtime the first week of the season, revenge wasn’t even a blip on Gonzalez’s radar Wednesday.
Now, carrying momentum on the other hand? The fourth-year coach is a firm believer.
Blowing open a game tied at halftime, Thornton rolled to a convincing 6-1 victory over Romeoville at the 3A Stagg Regional semifinal.
“I don’t believe in revenge,” Gonzalez said with a smile. “We kept our momentum, our intensity level up, and I’m proud that’s something I don’t have to ask these guys to do.”
Thornton (17-3) advances to play T.F. United Saturday at 3 p.m. for the regional title. The Wildcats won a regional title last season as well.
Coming out of the half tied, Thornton wasted little time unknotting the score. Senior Francisco Carbajal’s shot from the right side of the field deflected off a Romeoville defender and into the net to put the Wildcats up 2-1 with 37:04 remaining.
“We knew we had to come back and do our thing,” Carbajal said. “We knew we could keep scoring, just had to keep shooting. I knew I had to shoot. Four years on the varsity, I don’t want to mess it up. No hiccups, just play confident.”
Less than six minutes later, Ricardo Estrada followed suit, dribbling up the left side and blasting away from 20 yards out. His shot to the far post whipped past Romeoville goalkeeper Matt Gal (six saves).
The route was on, Thornton scoring three more goals in the half, including two from Serjio Lopez.
Farouk Amoo scored on a header in the first half for Thornton, Jesus Fernandez-Ortiz finding the net in the second half.
“What switched was that we came into the second half more intense, and we wanted to win more,” Fernandez-Ortiz said. “They beat us the first time we played, and we didn’t want that to happen again.”
Jason Silvar had the lone goal for Romeoville (10-8-2), a header off a free kick from Daniel Ibarra.
“[Too many] mental breakdowns,” Romeoville coach Nick Cirrincione said. “The kids have a hard time communicating with peers. We had breakdowns at the wrong time, and Thornton has great players who can.