Broncos' early schedule pays off vs. Hersey
By Dan Santaromita
Barrington started the year 0-4-2 and coach Steve Steib almost questioned putting the team through a tough schedule.
Now the team has won four of its last five and is contending in the Mid Suburban League after a 5-1 thumping of Hersey in Arlington Heights.
“I think playing a tough schedule, I really believe in it because as much as it was starting to be like ‘Man we’re 0-4-2,’ we were good enough to win a game,” Steib said. “It’s just that you get used to playing at a high level.”
The Broncos (4-5-2, 2-1) certainly played at a high level throughout the game despite going down early to the Huskies, who fell to 1-2 in MSL play.
“I thought we played great from the start to the finish except for a set piece,” Steib said.
That set piece was an 11th minute corner kick. The Broncos failed to mark up in the box and the result was an early deficit.
“We’ve done that a few times, to let somebody have a header inside the 18 with nobody within three to four yards of him,” Steib said. “It was a great header, but we’ve got to have somebody accounting for him to at least make it difficult for him.”
Barrington bounced back with a goal barrage that Hersey never recovered from.
First, Austin Walsh headed in a David Pacheco corner in the 20th minute to mimic the Hersey goal and level things up.
About seven minutes later some quick attacking soccer lead to the go-ahead goal. Lasse Haataja hit a through ball to Taylor Williams, who hit a lifted ball from near the end line that turned into a goal.
“It was going to be a cross, but it turned out to be great,” Williams said. “The goalie, he was off his line, and I just put it right on the crossbar and he kind of just tipped it in for me. It worked out great.”
Grant McAndrew made it three goals in twelve minutes when he was taken down in the box and finished the penalty kick himself to make it 3-1.
McAndrew added a goal in the second half and Haataja fired an impressive line drive strike to close out the scoring.
“We’ve been heating up lately,” McAndrew said. “We just got back from a tournament where we started to score a little more and our offense is clicking now.”
The match was a very physical affair, even more so than a typical game in the tough MSL.
“We’ve struggled with Hersey just something fierce over the last few years,” Steib said. “I think it means a lot to these guys too. That’s MSL in general. Hersey always plays hard.”
Barrington competed in a tournament in Indianapolis last weekend, winning its final two games. Steib thinks the momentum carried over.
“We won twice on Saturday, which was huge just for our confidence,” he said. “It’s good to have a day where you go out and get confident. Sometimes just to get some confidence putting the ball in the back of the net is good. We’ve scored 11 goals in our last two games and we had 23 all of last year.
Our confidence is much better. I told the boys we needed to have a break-through moment and I didn’t know when it was going to come. Maybe it was Saturday winning two games, having two shutouts, proving to ourselves that we can do it.”
Williams had his own explanation for the team’s recent improvement.
“We’re definitely making those through balls,” Williams said. “We’re connecting and putting the right amount of pace that we need to for making those runs and it’s really connecting as you can see.”
Steib mentioned the team’s formation, currently a 3-5-2, fits better than the 4-3-3 and 4-4-2 formations they tried earlier in the season.
“David Pacheco and Craig Zahour I thought were great in the central midfield today,” Steib said. “Hersey sits a little bit so there’s this pocket of space where you can play through them. Those two guys have been great for us since we put David there. David had been a forward for us before. Charlie Giovenco started in the back, he’s in the midfield now. Reid Strain was dealing with a back early.”
It also helps to have 15 seniors. The familiarity the players have with each other showed against Hersey.
The Broncos trail Palatine and Conant in the MSL West and have a crucial match against Fremd Wednesday night.