Boys Soccer: Omar Guzman’s lifts Kelly past Mather in Public League Semifinal

Updated: October 9, 2012 9:29PM

Omar Guzman turned chance into a golden opportunity.

The Kelly senior midfielder controlled a ball from junior midfielder Brian Leon and blasted a short ball through for the decisive goal in the Trojans’ 1-0 victory over defending Class 2A state champion Mather in the second semifinal of the Public League city tournament Tuesday at Lane.

Guzman’s goal powered the Trojans (10-3-4) into the championship against Lane Thursday at UIC. Kelly defeated Washington in the city final two years ago.

“I just saw the ball coming towards me, and I shot it,” Guzman said. It was his 13th goal of the season and it came in the 38th minute.

Mather (6-1-4) graduated the bulk of its team that defeated Lane in the city final 1-0 en route to the state championship run. “Last year’s team had a lot of great players and played with a lot of confidence,” senior forward Godman Eseh said.

He is one of the few returning starters. “This year’s group does not play with the same confidence,” he said.

The Rangers smashed Kelly 5-1 in the first game of the year. “We weren’t communicating very well back then,” Guzman said.

Star Kelly senior keeper Alessandro Juarez said the Trojans have matured a lot since the beginning of the season. “It was a lesson learned,” he said of the early-season shellacking. “We knew as long as we could get through the first half, playing without the wind, and be tied we’d be okay,” Juarez said.

Kelly controlled possession time and shots on goal, and they prevented Mather from generating any consistent offensive threats.

Because of the abbreviated conference schedule occasioned by the teachers’ strike, Kelly and Lane did not play during the regular season. It is the game many anticipated.

“It is North Side versus South Side, and I know a couple of their players,” Guzman said. “I was there as a sophomore and I wanted so much to get back.”

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