Extra time has been cruel to Leyden this year.
This time the Eagles took a more aggresive approach right out of the kickoff.
Off a free kick by senior midfielder Christian Sosnowski, junior defender Cesar Franco drilled home a short rebound less than a minute into overtime as Leyden secured the 2-1 win over host Willowbrook Tueday nght in Villa Park.
“We’ve been in three overtime games before, and we lost all three and we just wanted to end it,” Franco said.
Miguel Mireles helped spark the game game-winning sequence by penetrating the Warriors backline and getting fouled just outside the box. Sosnowski quickly lined up for the free kick before Willowbrook goalie Asmir Perviz was ready for play.
His ball skipped over the wall and hit the near post as Franco punched in the short ball.
“At first I was just going to go over and pick the ball up because I thought the first shot was already in,” Franco said.
Sosnowski scored his sixth goal of the year in the 17th minute that gave the Eagles (6-5-3, 2-1 West Suburban Gold) the 1-0 advantage. Junior Enrique Vargas controlled the ball on the right flank and had his initial shot blocked. The ball returned to him and his cross found Sosnowski 14 yards out.
“The ball came right to me, it was bouncing,” he said. “My coach  has been telling me to use my left foot becuase I haven’t been using it enough, so I took a left-footed ball, on the first touch, and it was the right play.”
Willowbrook (5-6-1, 1-2) withstood the early pressure and began controlling possession time and creating greater scoring opportunities.
Riad Perviz hit the near post late in the first half.Leyden’s goalie took an aggressive play to move off the line and collided with the Warriors’ Saul Hernandez, who could not corral the ball to get off a play in the otherwise open net.
“Their physicality started to bother us, and in the second half they were probably better than us,” Sosnowski said.
“We’ve been unlucky with goals in a lot of our games this year, and that’s what happened again tonight,” Hernandez said.
Willowbrook created the equalizer in the 60th minute on a scoring play almost identitical to Leyden’s game-winner. Mike Rogalski nailed a free kick just outside the box after Leyden disputed the foul that set up the re-start.
Turn about was fair play for Leyden.
“Before the start of overtime, I talked about that we needed smebody to step up and make a play,” Leyden coach Mark Valintis said.
“We lost overtime games to Morton, Lane, and a penalty shootout to Streamwood and tonight, we were more aggressive about making a play at th start of overtime rather than waiting for something positive to hapepn.”