Boys Soccer: Morton advances past Warren, into finals
Updated: November 4, 2011 11:24PM
Mario Romero never lost his faith. The freshman Morton midfielder took a secondary role after Mustangs’ star Joel Salmeron returned to the starting line up following a knee injury.
Morton coach Mike Caruso did not hesitate to insert Romero in the biggest moment of the year. The kid delivered.
Romero drilled a penalty kick goal into the left corner that gave the Mustangs the thrilling 2-1 victory in the Class 3A state seminal over Warren Friday night at Lincoln-Way North.
“I felt special, not just making the game-winning goal but just because of the trust and faith the coach showed in me,” Romero said.
Morton (23-3-1) advances to the state championship against Naperville Central Saturday night.
“He’s just a freshman, but he’s got a lot of savvy,” Caruso said. Just moments earlier, Morton senior keeper Miguel Chacon buried a shot by Nick Wegrzynowicz to set up Romero’s heroics.
“He’s a bit of a wild guy, the way he gets the crowd into the game,” Caruso said. “He started slowly this year because of injuries, but he’s really come on and been just outstanding for us in the state tournament.”
Just like regulation and the four overtimes, the game was extended when the shootout ended 4-4. Star Warren keeper Brady Walsh, a third-team Sun-Times all-area selection, scored the fourth goal during the shoot out for the Blue Devils.
“You come down here to get a good game like this,” Walsh said. “To win a state championship, you have to not only be good and skilled but also lucky sometimes. Unfortunately the ball didn’t bounce our way tonight.”
Morton dominated possession time in the first half and broke through on Alonso Torres’s goal in the 38th minute.
Warren (22-4-3) asserted its own style in the second half to stage its own rally. Ryan Friend scored on a rebound off a free kick by Blue Devils’ star Daniel Szczepanek. Warren had several heartbreaking near goals go awry in the second half as Chacon stymied them with several breathtaking diving saves.
“This is a great thrill for myself, my teammates to be playing in a state championship,” Chacon said. “We’re doing for ourselves, our teaches, our parents and our school.”