The Conant Cougars are a strong, well coached and well organized team. Even though we beat them 2-1 earlier this season (in the championship match of the Barrington Classic Tournament,) we knew it would be a tough and physical battle today.
At the opening whistle Conant came out strong, with lots of energy and pressure. As we settled in a bit, we started to move the ball well and neutralize much of their energy. Gio Guarnero was on point with his control and distribution from midfield, creating several opportunities for us to get into the Conant end. Many of the chances came once we started to see better movement from our tandem of forwards, Klaus Pallan and Michael Blanke. We took the lead in the 29th minute, when Klaus Pallan scored his 22nd goal of the season. (He also continued his amazing streak of scoring in every game he has played this season – 16 straight games. Wow.) Pallan scored on a free kick, 25 yards from goal. His shot curled up and over the wall, beating the Conant goalkeeper to the near post.
In the second half, we continued to move the ball and control the rhythm and tempo of the match. We out shot Conant 9-1 and also enjoyed a 9-0 advantage on corner kicks this half. We were rewarded for our all of our work with a goal in the 62nd minute. Klaus Pallan won an initial header off of a corner kick, and Connor Delahunt was happy to find the rebound coming his way. With a courageous header of his own, Delahunt beat the Conant defense and the Cougar keeper and made the score 2-0 Broncos. For the final 18 minutes, we smartly kept Conant away from our end with a combination of possession play and balls over the top. Conant did nearly cut the lead in half, however the apparent goal was disallowed as the Conant attacker was flagged for being in an offside position.
We have become accustomed to stingy team defense, and today was no exception. Today’s match saw great defensive work and play from our entire back line (Nash Pirie, John Gadbois, Josh Coulter and Hudson Walsh) as well as our midfield (Zach Carbonara, Kai Sebens, Enrico Ruffolo and Guarnero.) While goalkeeper Alex Ruffolo did not have as much work today as he did two days ago, he also made several fine plays which contributed to the shutout. Through nine MSL matches, we have only allowed 2 goals against and have 8 shutouts. Well done boys!
It was a great day; we celebrated our 2016 Homecoming with a 2-0 win over MSL division rivals Conant and captured the 2016 MSL West Championship. We have now won the MSL West 7 of the last 14 years. This gives us the opportunity to play for the MSL Conference Championship on Thursday, October 13th at 7:00pm. We will play at the MSL East Champion, which will either be the Hersey Huskies or Wheeling Wildcats. (They play each other on Friday, October 7th in a match that will likely decide the division crown.)
Great job today to the whole team! GO BRONCOS! YNWA!
Pallan, Klaus (UA – FK) — 29th minute
Delahunt, Connor (Klaus Pallan) — 62nd minute