Surging Streamwood topples rival ElginStreamwood's Nestor Ascencio (left) and Elgin's Samuel Escobar battle for the ball on the sideline during their game Tuesday at Millennium Field in Streamwood. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 27, 2011 9:30PM
The clock at Streamwood’s Millennium Field had ticked down inside of 10 seconds remaining Tuesday for the first half, but the Sabres’ Luis Rodriguez and Alejandro Avalos were going right up to the halftime horn.
Avalos took a perfect feed from well out front and put it into the right, lower corner past Elgin goalie Tony Benitez with two seconds left in the half to give the Sabres command en route to their third straight soccer win, 2-0, in Upstate Eight River play.
“At first I thought I was offsides, and then I saw no time left after it went in,” Avalos said. “It was a pretty good pass from Luis.
“When you get chances that come your way, you’ve got to take advantage of everything.”
After the goal, Elgin had trouble mustering much offense in the second half.
“Two seconds left, yeah we’ll definitely take that,” Streamwood coach Matt Polovin said. “For us, that really stepped it up a little bit more.
“And for them, any time you get scored on in the last few seconds it’s tough mentally to come back.”
Avalos’ fifth goal of the season stood as the only one of the match until 1:11 remained, when left-footed Nestor Ascencio drilled in a high, twisting free kick from 25 yards out at an angle to ice the match.
Sabres back line players Andrew Perez and Ivan Vivero helped keep the pressure off goalie Jose Resendiz, who had to make only three saves during the soggy second half, when many players had trouble with footing.
“We have a young team and they’re our senior leaders in the back,” Polovin said. “They’re always making sure our formations are correct and the guys are marking who they are supposed to be marking.”
The Sabres (5-11-1, 1-3) had struggled to a 2-11-1 record through their hard-fought loss to Larkin last week, but their fortunes seemed to turn with that contest. They’ve beaten Hoffman Estates, Lake Park and Elgin in succession.
“This is a big win because it’s not only a rival, but a pretty good Elgin team,” Polovin said. “They beat St. Charles North and East, so that shows how much we’ve improved to be able to win this.”
The Maroons’ best chance probably came in the ninth minute when Resendiz slipped and fell as he stopped Juan Flores’ shot off the wing, but Joel Chavez missed on a rebound from point-blank range.
It was probably not surprising Elgin got outshot 11-7 for the match.
“Not taking anything away from them, but our center-mid, our leading scorer Josue Chavez was sick and not here tonight,” Elgin coach Dave Borg said. “We consider him to be as good as anybody out here.
“So what are you going to do? He’s the center-mid, he makes everything happen.”
Elgin (7-5-5) fell to 2-1-1 in the UEC.
“All is not lost,” Borg said. “We always play Larkin well and we’ve got Geneva ahead of us.
“If we can finish strong, we’re fine.”