‘Snakebit’ Metea Valley suffers shutout loss to No. 7 Plainfield North

SHARE ‘Snakebit’ Metea Valley suffers shutout loss to No. 7 Plainfield North

Fortune is supposedly a fickle lady, and Metea Valley coach Josh Robinson might want to consider bringing candy or flowers to his next soccer game.

All he knows is that fortune hasn’t been kind to his Mustangs, and even Jamie Clemmons, coach of Plainfield North, admitted fortune smiled upon his squad in Monday’s 2-0 nonconference road win.

“No question they were the better team for the first 20 minutes, but we were better on set pieces,” Clemmons said. “That’s what won us the game.”

Plainfield North (12-2), ranked No. 7 in the latest Sun-Times poll, survived the Mustangs’ aggressive start and ultimately chalked up a sixth shutout victory, this time at the expense of Metea (6-4-2).

Two minutes in, Esteban Castillo had a laser shot go just wide left and a couple minutes after that, the Mustangs’ Michael Adams broke free from Tiger goalkeeper Cade Fink for what was virtually an empty net only to have the shot carom off the right post.

“It’s almost comical, not in a funny sense, but from a what-does-it-take standpoint?” Robinson said. “I like the way we’re playing, we’re getting chances and creating dangerous shots. That was a great through ball, but then we hit the post. We hit the post four or five times in our last game (the second of the Mustangs’ three 1-0 losses).

“I hate that word ‘snakebit,’ but if we can’t finish, playing well makes no difference in the scoreline. Early in the year we were winning 1-0 or 2-0 while playing great defense. Our back line still is; guys aren’t beating them in terms of getting by them to score. We gave up two set pieces, not goals from the run of play.”

Ten minutes in, Adams had a solid header stopped, and minutes after that, Fink rushed out of the goal box to boot away a potential breakaway. With 13:06 left before halftime, Zach Barangan’s free kick turned into a pinball play that ended with reserve Mitch Rathbun getting his fifth goal.

“I was going back post when the ball kind of pinged around and their goalie punched it right to me,” Rathbun said. “It was an easy goal, but they all feel good. This is probably one of the best teams, so that makes this a little more memorable.”

Clemmons said a shift to a 4-2-3-1 formation helped his Tigers keep the Metea offense off balance, and then another set piece yielded an insurance goal 10 minutes into the second half. Ethan Barangan had a seven-yard header off a stellar free kick by fellow defender James Thompson.

“We go through a lot of set work in practice,” Thompson said. “I’m always willing to take free kicks and from that side of the field it was an easy left-footed whip to Ethan’s head.”

“As defenders, we get most of our (scoring) opportunities from set pieces, so it’s good to go up and add to the score,” Ethan Barangan said. “But the shutout is a credit to all the defenders and Cade in net.”

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