Boys Soccer: Thornton co-op stops Homewood-Flossmoor 2-0
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media August 26, 2014 9:22PM
Updated: August 27, 2014 2:14AM
Coming off a record-setting season in 2013 that included a sectional finals appearance, high expectations surround Thornton co-op.
“That team took us far last season, and we want to go even further this year,” Thornton’s Salvador Estrada said.
The Wildcats started the year on a high note Tuesday night, topping Homewood-Flossmoor 2-0 in a Windy City Ram Classic first-round game in Flossmoor.
Thornton will meet Joliet Central, an overtime winner over De La Salle, Thursday in the second round of the 32-team tournament.
“We did OK,” Thornton coach David Gonzalez said. “I think the kids really understand what we’re trying to do. We started a little sloppy, but then we settled down and played well.”
After H-F goalie Reggie Moore (3 saves) made a big save on a Serjio Lopez shot in the opening moments, the Vikings nearly found themselves with an early lead when Noah Wojcikowski took the ball on a counterattack and slipped a pass to Daniel Estelle, who fired just wide.
The H-F defense held off the speedy Wildcats until the 31st minute. Lopez took a free kick from 28 yards out and sent the ball into the box, where Ivan Mendoza got a piece of the ball and directed it toward Carlos Contreras, who fired it home.
“I couldn’t do it without my teammates,” Contreras said. “It was a nice assist from (Mendoza) ... I was just really excited to score the first goal of the season.”
Lopez scored 93 seconds into the second half on a give-and-go with Ivan Huerta to make it 2-0.
The Thornton defense took it from there, not allowing H-F a shot on goal.
Estrada, a senior who did not play on the team last season, anchored the back line. He’s the cousin of Thornton star Ricky Estrada, whose brother, Edgar, also is on the team.
Ruben Salgado and Diego Leon also starred on defense for the Wildcats.
Aside from the early golden chance, H-F’s best opportunities to score were on a pair of second-half set pieces, but neither led to a shot on goal.
“We’re a team that’s probably not going to get a lot of possession, so we want to counterattack and take advantage of our chances when we get them” H-F coach Chris Reid said. “If we score early, maybe it’s a different game. All the credit to Thornton, though. They did a really good job.”