Evanston’s bid to rise to the top of the Central Suburban League South division soccer standings again this fall hit a roadblock Thursday night at Lazier Field.
Unable to convert on numerous scoring opportunities, the Wildkits settled for a 1-1 draw with Glenbrook South that ended a six-game winning string for ETHS.
Now, coach Franz Calixte’s squad mostly likely would need outright victories over New Trier (Sept. 19) and Maine South (Oct. 3), two league foes ranked in the top 20 in the Chicago area, along with Niles West (Sept. 26) to claim the division crown.
The tie left the Wildkits with a 7-1-1 record, while South moved to 11-2-1 on the year.
Miguel Jimenez scored for the Kits in the first 5 minutes of the contest Thursday — and the hosts never found the back of the net again in a physical contest that, for the most part, didn’t draw many whistles from the referee. South scored when the ETHS defense suffered a rare breakdown, leaving Jeremy Weber wide open inside the 20-yard line for the tying goal in the 19th minute.
Frustrated as he was with the tie, Calixte refused to make excuses for the hosts.
“We can’t point a finger at the referee, we have to point the finger at ourselves,” said the veteran coach. “You can’t leave it for the referee to make a call (to help the offense). We’re playing well, we did a good job of attacking from all angles, but we missed too many opportunities tonight. The same thing happened in our last game against Niles North, where we waited until the 76th minute to score and missed a lot of chances.
“We’re playing well and we’re creating chances, we’re just not finishing them.”
Jimenez, the squad’s leading scorer, got ETHS on the scoreboard off a pass from Colin Thompson. But the senior standout missed out on at least a potential hat trick — and by mere inches, to add to Evanston’s frustration.
Jimenez hit the left post just two minutes after his goal, on a scoring run that started with a sweet pass from Nathan Pollack. Early in the second half, his boot rolled just to the left of GBS keeper Mike Hatfield, and the unusual roll just missed the post while staying inbounds for the Titans to eventually clear.
Right after that mishap, the Kits threatened again and the GBS defense stood firm. The Titans blocked an attempt by Issac Diop from point blank range, and Efrain Velazquez kicked the rebound attempt over the crossbar.
Evanston’s best opportunity to score, however, came in the 70th minute when reserve forward Sam Bogan won a foot race with the GBS keeper, was knocked to the turf — and no foul was whistled. Again, the Titans were able to clear the ball out of danger.
“It looked pretty clear to me that it should have been a PK (penalty kick),” Calixte said. “He made a great play to put himself in that position — he did everything he needed to do — but we didn’t get the call.”
Dennis Mahoney is sports information director for ETHS.