West Aurora had the statistical advantages, but Metea Valley slipped away Tuesday with a 2-1 victory in the first meeting between the two schools.
The visiting Mustangs (2-1, 1-1 Upstate Eight Valley) overcame an early deficit for a 1-1 draw and then got the match winner with just over 14 minutes in order to prevent West Aurora (2-1, 1-1 Upstate Eight Valley) from getting off to a 3-0 start.
“Soccer is definitely one of those sports where the only stat that matters in the end is on the scoreboard,” West Aurora coach Joe Susterstic said. “We outshot them in both halves, both in overall attempts and in shots on goal, 5-1 in the second half, but theirs went in.”
West Aurora’s aggressiveness led to a penalty kick opportunity just 6:05 into the match and Christian Martinez converted the try for his second goal of the season.
“I didn’t really look at the keeper, I just made up my mind where to shoot,” Martinez said about his shot that sailed just under the crossbar. “In the previous games we didn’t have good starts, but picked up our intensity. In this one we just didn’t pick up the goals we needed.”
The Blackhawks rallied for a 2-1 season-opening win over West Chicago and erased a 2-0 halftime deficit with four goals in a 12-minute span to win 4-2 at Bartlett. Against Metea, it wasn’t for a lack of opportunity as West owned a 23-9 advantage for attempts, an 8-5 edge for shots on frame, and a 7-2 lead in corner kicks.
The Mustangs got the equalizer 7:29 before intermission when Michael Adams’ pass was headed home by Brandon Howard.
“With their keeper on the other side I saw an opening and just headed it downward,” Howard said of his first goal of the season.
“Coach always tells us to drive the balls into the box and I know Brandon is a menace in there,” Adams said. “My goal was simply a great ball from Max (Graf), so it was just an easy tap in. Bottom line, every win is great for the team, but road wins and conference road wins are special.”
Adams’ “easy tap in” was a seven-yard finish on a stellar cross from the right wing.
“Michael had a phenomenal match and I’m extremely proud of him,” Metea coach Josh Robinson said. “Give tons of credit to Joe’s team for how hard they played. We did battle, but we weren’t sharp, so to come out of here with a win is big.”
Despite West Aurora’s pressure and opportunities, another key for the Mustangs was goalie Joey Coryell’s saves as well as defensive catches or clears.
“Their keeper had some nice saves, especially down the stretch. We still have some newcomers to the varsity level and one of the growing pains is learning to finish,” Susterstic said.
“We’d have the ball at the top of the 18 and instead of taking a shot, we’d look to pass to the corner. That’s a lesson we have to learn because we have to defend our home field.”