A red card issued to a player from Lake Forest Academy with 22 minutes left in the first half left Evanston’s soccer team with an extended man-up advantage during the second round of the Evanston Invitational tournament Thursday.
But it took the Wildkits another 14 minutes to figure out a way to score, before they turned up the pressure and dominated the second half of a 3-1 victory at Lazier Field.
Colin Thompson scored a goal and also had an assist, Miguel Jimenez scored a goal for the fourth game in a row, and newcomer Chris Nkurunziza tallied his first ETHS goal as the Kits poured it on in the second half and improved to 4-0 overall.
Evanston can repeat as tourney champion by beating winless Payton Prep on Saturday.
“We couldn’t exactly call a timeout and adjust when their player got kicked out,” said ETHS head coach Franz Calixte. “And we didn’t really make any major adjustments at halftime.
“What Lake Forest did was pack it in on defense — they did have the lead, after all — and they didn’t give us any lanes to work with. They defended with the same amount of players, because up 1-0 they didn’t have to change there.
“Our forwards had to make different runs in the second half. We had to play a little more direct, because we weren’t creating that many opportunities. But that was a good second half for us, our best half of the season. Our goal is to score in every half, but when we didn’t score in the first half, we weren’t satisfied — but we didn’t panic.”
LFA seized a 1-0 advantage with just 1 minute, 52 seconds elapsed when an ETHS foul led to a successful penalty kick by Ian Strudwick. But the ejection of Nat Shattock, for using obscene language directed at a Wildkit player, shifted the momentum back to the home team and ETHS goalie Gavin Rosengarten only had to make 1 save the rest of the contest.
The hosts turned up the pressure in the first 10 minutes of the second half, and finally broke through in the 55th minute when Thompson turned and cranked a high shot from the 20-yard line that LFA keeper Brede Baldwin never touched.
Eight minutes later, Thompson slipped a pass through the LFA defenders and Nkurunziza used his shake-and-bake moves to deke keeper Baldwin off his feet before finding the back of the net.
Jimenez sealed the win and scored his team-best fourth goal of the season when he headed home a rebound with 10:44 remaining in the contest.
Dennis Mahoney is sports information director for ETHS.