Alonso Torres’ double lifts Morton
Updated: October 29, 2011 3:59PM
This time Morton made sure there was no comeback.
Senior midfielder Alonso Torres scored two first-half goals and senior forward Joel Salmeron scored a goal and assisted two others as the Mustangs hammered Oak Park-River Forest 4-0 to capture the 3A Hinsdale Central sectional title Saturday.
It was the third time in the last four years Morton has beaten the Huskies in the state tournament. Morton advances to Tuesday’s super sectional at Illinois Benedictine against Lincoln-Way East.
Salmeron assisted both of Torres’ goals, including the backbreaker, a score in the closing seconds that pushed the Mustangs to a commanding 3-0 lead at the break.
“With about 50 seconds to go in the half, I was on the sidelines, but one of our guys and an Oak Park player got yellow cards, so I had to go back in,” Torres said. “Joel made a great play and crossed it into the mixer, and I was able to finish,” he said.
After squandering a 2-0 first half lead to Lyons in the sectional semifinal and being extended into double overtime, the Mustangs (21-3-1) knew they had to maintain their intensity and relentlessness.
“We all talked at halftime we didn’t want a repeat of what happened against Lyons and we had to keep the pressure on,” Torres said.
Senior midfielder Jesus Morales, the hero of the 4-3 Lyons victory with a goal in the second overtime, ignited the Mustangs with a goal in the 17th minute of the first half. Salmeron added to the attack with a perfect through ball that Torres turned into a breakaway score and the 2-0 advantage.
Torres and Morales were named the Mustangs’ co-most valuable players, a sign of their rapid improvement. Morton coach said both stepped up after Salmeron, who had 26 goals and 17 assists last year, missed most of the first half of the season recovering from a knee injury.
“We had to find another scorer after Joel went down, and Jesus and Alonso have both stepped up,” Caruso said. “With Joel at the center, the commander of the attack and those two, it forms a very good [offensive] triangle.”
Salmeron punctuated the victory with a left-footer from about 12 yards out the curled inside the net. “I think what’s happening is that everybody realizes how close were are to getting to the state finals, and we’ve really come together as a group,” he said.
Oak Park-River Forest (20-4-1) had several scoring opportunities at the start of the second half. Star Stephen Golz had a header go off the top of the post. “We buried ourselves today,” Huskies’ coach Paul Wright said. “On those first three goals we should not have given up any of those scores.”