The second game of the Barrington Classic Tournament saw our Broncos welcome Lake Zurich, a match up that is always a spirited one due to the geographical proximity and the number of players who know each other through their club soccer squads. Tonight was hard fought match, during which the last half hour was especially fierce. It was so emotional, that Coach Steib is pretty sure these types of games are taking days and weeks off of his life expectancy. Rest easy coach, you’ll be alright!
Our boys came out tonight looking much sharper and far more energetic than the day prior, and from the first minute we were the team on the front foot, dictating play and possessing a vast majority of the ball. CJ Steib played a more advanced role, stepping into a wide midfield spot, and his work rate and determination resulted in a more voracious attack. We registered 12 shots in the first half, with Steib having three quality chances himself. Only a couple of spectacular saves from the Bears goalkeeper kept the game tied.
At halftime, our boys knew that while the first half was a quality display of intelligent and skillful soccer, we had to make all of that play mean something, and we had to get goals from it. We stepped onto the field to open the second half seemingly ready to go.
In the blink of an eye, our confidence was tested as Lake Zurich rushed into our box and created a quality chance to take the lead. While Bronco goalkeeper Daniel Hesselbein was able to make terrific save on their initial attempt, the rebound fell into the path of Bears forward Aiman Naqvi, who calmly passed his attempt into the open net. The Bears had the 1-0 lead.
The good news was the goal we conceded did not lead to our boys dropping their heads. Instead, we went right back to work, looking to even up the score line. In the 56th minute, just 8 minutes after the LZ goal, Michael Horak collected a free ball just at the top of the box and blistered his shot off of the left post and into the goal to tie the game. The goal was a definite boost to our already strong belief and we looked confident that tonight would still be ours.
As we continued to press for the go ahead goal, play became a little less about technical and tactical play and more about effort and grit. This is likely due to playing on back to back days, as the legs began to get a wee bit heavy. With adrenaline as our booster, we went at their goal many times, with opportunities coming from the run of play, as well as from set pieces. After a couple of chances at each end, our break through came from a corner kick sequence when Joe Cidulka and Chris Guerra each nearly scored on consecutive headers, only to be denied by the keeper and the crossbar, and then two more chances came from consecutive rebounds with CJ Steib getting a left boot onto a shot that was perfectly placed into the side netting of the near post.
The final 10 minutes wasn’t the prettiest football you’ll ever see, although our boys did exhaust the clock with some intelligent possession in the corners… and in the end, the clock ran out and we had earned our first come from behind win of the season. The win also gives our team life in the tournament, and with a win over Jacobs on Thursday, we could play in the tournament championship should Rockford Boylan be unable to earn a win over Lake Zurich.
LZHS #9 Aiman Naqvi (Eric Bibb) – 48th minute
BHS #8 Michael Horak (UA) – 56th minute
BHS #7 CJ Steib (UA) – 70th minute
Fouls: BHS 12, LZHS 7
Corner Kicks: BHS 11, LZHS 1
Offsides: BHS 0, LZHS 0
BRONCOS “MAN OF THE MATCH”