Boys Soccer: Omar Guzman leads Kelly to Public League title
Updated: October 11, 2012 9:43PM
Omar Guzman, Brian Leon and Alessandro Juarez grew up together on the South side, dreaming of winning city titles.
Their togetherness has a lot of benefits on the soccer field. They not only anticipate each other’s moves, but have a sense of where the other is at all times.
Guzman and Leon took turns assisting the other and Juarez made several spectacular saves as Kelly stunned favorite Lane 2-1 to capture the Public League soccer tournament Thursday night at UIC.
It marked the Trojans’ second title in the last three years. Lane (11-5-4) lost its second consecutive heartbreaker in the city title by a single goal. It was Lane’s first loss on the field; their others were via forfeits during the teachers’ strike.
For the second consecutive game, Guzman scored the game-winner on an assist from Leon in the 66th minute. It was Guzman’s 14th goal of the season and Leon’s fifth assist. “It was just like the last game,” said Guzman, a senior forward.
“I’ve got good speed, I saw the ball and the goalie came out wrong and I saw the opportunity and space, too. I just tapped it into there.”
The Trojans’ other key weapon was Jose Rosas, their specialist on long free kicks. Both of their goals originated off “punts,” long balls that Rosas played on re-starts. Kelly (11-3-4) jumped on the Indians 1-0 in the first nine minutes.
Guzman captured Rosas’ long and deep free kick that he converted into a perfect two-on-one for Leon. “I saw [Guzman] out of the corner of my eye, and I was just hoping he could get the ball to me,” Leon said. It was his seventh goal of the year.
Lane answered in the 21st minute as junior forward star Jose Fuentes, despite being surrounded by three players, made spectacular rebound score off his own miss as he fell to the ground. Lane dominated possession time and shots on goal. It marked his team-leading 12th goal.
Lane could not solve Juarez. He made two superb saves in the closing minutes of the first half that denied point-blank shots by the Indians. “I guess I was in the right place at the right time,” he said. “Fortunately, most of the balls I was able to reach.”
Lane coach Andrew Ricks said Juarez deserved the credit. “On a couple of those plays, it was a melee in there,” Ricks said. “We didn’t get a lot of clear cut chances. We had some half shots in there. Their attack was the punt, and they took advantage of it a couple of times and we didn’t respond.”
The victory marked a stunning turnaround from Kelly’s loss to Curie in last year’s quarterfinals. “That was a disappointment,” Juarez said. “This year, the chemistry has been great. This team has a great bond, and everybody is united.
“I just thank everybody for all the support they gave me.”