Salmeron, Morton down Addison Trail
Joel Salmeron is starting to get his groove back. That spells trouble for opponents of Morton soccer.
The star Mustangs senior forward, who missed his team’s first seven games after spraining his MCL, scored his first goal of the year to lead the host No. 3 Mustangs past Addison Trail 3-1 Tuesday in Berwyn.
“I’d say right now, I’m about 80 percent, because I missed all that time and my conditioning is not anywhere near where it normally is,” he said. A year ago, he accumulated 26 goals and registered 17 assists.
“I finished the rehab about a week ago, but I’m still doing stuff on my own at home just to get in shape,” Salmeron said. “I’m still not playing as much as I’m used to, probably 75 percent of the game.”
The silver lining to his absence was a talented though largely young and inexperienced team has come of age. “With me out of the line up, other people had to step up and get that experience,” he said.
One constant is Salmeron’s connection with senior midfielder Jesus Morales. The two scored a goal apiece and assisted each other that staked the Mustangs (11-2, 2-0 West Suburban Gold) to a 2-0 advantage at the break.
“We just have a kind of sixth sense out there,” Salmeron said. “I don’t even have to know where he is. He knows where to look for me and how to get the ball, and I do the same.”
“We’ve been playing for three or four years now, even outside of the high school team,” Morales said. “Joel’s a great player, and he creates a lot for other people.”
Morton controlled possession most of the game. Addison Trail (8-5) made one significant push to make a run in the 30th minute of the second half. After junior forward Javier Rodriguez was fouled in the box, junior midfielder George Leyva scored on a penalty kick to close the margin to 2-1.
About a minute later, Morton sophomore midfielder Edgar Garcia smashed a left-footed through ball that senior midfielder Alonso Torres caught in stride. Torres drilled a shot inside the right post to maintain the Mustangs’ two goal cushion.
The score came with just inside 10 minutes to play. Addison Trail never mounted another serious offensive threat.
Salmeron also announced he is likely to make his college commitment this week, likely choosing between UIC and Marquette. “We’ve lost two games to the teams [Naperville North and Libertyville] ranked No. 1 and 2 in the state, so we feel good about the way we’re playing,” Salmeron said.
“Now we just want to keep it up.”