Morton sneaks past Hinsdale South
Updated: August 25, 2011 9:30PM
In a battle between short-handed teams, perennial power Morton still owns the upper hand over Hinsdale South.
The defending West Suburban Gold champion Mustangs opened play in Hinsdale Central’s Red Devil Cup Thursday night with a 3-2 victory over the conference rival Hornets in Darien. Morton scored two goals in the second half to pull out the win, capped by Jose Luis Alvarado’s game-winner with 24:40 remaining in the game.
The diminutive sophomore was in the right place at the right time with a rebound after teammate Joel Leon’s shot was deflected by Hinsdale South junior defender Kenny Ida at the goal line. The ball went right back to Alvarado, who hammered in the ricochet.
“I can’t explain it. It felt good to help the team. Winning this game was OK,” Alvarado said.
Morton (1-1) won its first game without top returning scorer Joel Salmeron (26 goals last season), who is out six weeks after straining the MCL in his left knee in a preseason scrimmage. The Mustangs also played without starting goalkeeper Miguel Chacon, who injured his right knee in a 2-0 season-opening loss to Naperville North Aug. 24. Freshman Ian Chacon, who is not related, started in goal.
The Hornets (0-2) were without captain and senior midfielder Ernie Yanez, who was injured in a season-opening 5-1 loss at Wheaton Warrenville South Aug. 23. Hinsdale South was already missing starting senior defender Adam Garcia, who missed the first two games due to breaking a team rule. Garcia missed too many practices in the preseason.
The last time the two teams met in the Devil Cup, Morton won 6-0 in the championship game. For Hornets coach James Van Denburgh, Thursday night’s loss felt like a moral victory.
“At the end, we did not get the ‘W’, but I like the scoreboard. They feel it,” Van Denburgh said of his players.
Hinsdale South led 2-1 at halftime after T.J. Kubiesa converted a penalty kick with 6:50 to go in the first half. The Hornets scored first when junior midfielder Jeremy Leganski, appearing in his second varsity game, scored his first career goal on a nifty left-footed boot from about 15 yards out off Kubiesa’s assist.
“It was definitely great. I saw the cross. T.J. played a great ball,” Leganski said. “I had the easy job.”
Morton tied the game in the first half on Marcos Romo’s goal, the Mustangs’ first of the season, nearly 10 minutes after Leganski’s goal.
The Hornets managed only a few shots on goal in the second half. Daniel Vargas’ left-footed shot beat a defender to tie the game at 2-2 ten minutes into the second half.
“This will give us confidence,” Morton coach Mike Caruso said. “To see the guys win without [Salmeron]. It’s a good step for us.”