The Oswego High School boys varsity soccer team beat Romeoville 4-1 on Thursday, Sept. 26. OHS improved to 10-4-1 on the season (5-0-0 in the conference) while Romeoville dropped to 4-9-0 (1-5-0 in conference).
The most notable takeaway from this game was the improved communication of the Panthers’ players.
“When these guys have good chemistry, good communication, it allows us to control the whole game. We could score as many goals as we wanted to,” coach Gaspar Arias said.
Not only did the Panthers’ communication allow them to control the ball, but it also improved the overall defensive play.
“When the whole backline communicates, everything just comes together. They were able to prevent goals except in the end [of the game when we allowed a meaningless goal],” senior goalkeeper Kade Gutierrez said.
The Panthers began the game with two good opportunities to score but both shots went wide of the net. Later, around the 30-minute mark, senior midfielder Steven Udy earned a corner kick and booted the ball right to senior forward Norman Hernandez who finished off the corner kick for the first goal of the game.
In the final 10 minutes of the first half, the Panthers were unable to convert on a spectacular shot by Udy. The shot rang off the top of the crossbar and stayed out of the net to the home fan’s disappointment. The Panthers go into the 2nd half up 1-0, providing hope for the already spectacular team.
Just three minutes into the second half, senior midfielder Martin Imbronjev had a one-on-one with Romeoville’s goalkeeper. His move? A perfectly executed chip shot right over the goalkeeper’s head which made the game 2-0 in favor of the Panthers.
The next 20 minutes were filled with great scoring opportunities for the Panthers. At the 19 minute mark, Udy dribbled right past Romeoville’s right defensive back and took a low shot angled towards the right corner of the net, but the shot was turned away by the keeper. During the 18 minute mark, one of Romeoville’s players got injured and the training staff went out to see if he was alright. Thankfully, the player was able to walk off the field under his own power.
Only minutes after Udy’s opportunity, senior midfielder Johnny Sherrell took what was seemingly the exact same shot that Udy had taken: a shot right in front of the keeper aimed low and to the right. Unfortunately, Sherrell’s shot was just wide of the keeper and hit the outside part of the net.
However, the Panthers built up another scoring chance only moments after Sherrell’s narrow miss. Sophomore forward Daniel Avila began the breakaway alone. Once Avila moved the ball passed the right-back, he waited for Udy and senior forward Mason McCaw to catch up. Avila passed the ball back to Udy, who then dished the ball to his left, gifting McCaw with an open net in which he scored on easily. The Panther’s led 3-0 at that point.
The game settled down for the next 10 minutes, but the Panthers were consistently in control of the ball. At the 33 minute mark, the backline of Romeoville collapsed and McCaw dribbled past the left-back and booted his second goal of the half, effectively ending the game. The Panthers did allow a goal with 34 seconds left in the game, but it was a goal for pride whilst the Panthers laid off the accelerator. The final score was 4-1, Panthers.
This continued growth will likely culminate in another historic season similar to last season where the Panthers went 9-0-0 in conference play and won the Southwest Prairie Conference (SPC) championship. We’ll get to see whether or not the Panthers have improved anymore when they play Joliet West on October 1, at 6:30 pm, on the Joliet West Varsity Soccer Field.