If boys soccer coaches in the Central Suburban League decide to make a change to help determine an actual winner in the annual crossover game between the two division champions at the end of the year, they’ll have Franz Calixte’s vote.
The Evanston coach endured a less-than-satisfying 1-1 tie against Niles North in the third annual CSL Championship Showcase game Thursday night at Lazier Field. It marked the second straight year that the contest ended in a tie, with no overtimes or rounds of penalty kicks, just like in the regular season in the conference.
Calixte wouldn’t mind at least a round of PKs or two, especially considering that shooters and goalies could all use that as a tuneup with the postseason looming only a week later.
“I didn’t want to play an overtime tonight, but let’s at least have PKs,” said the ETHS coach. “We might as well have a winner, because if not, teams will just play for a tie like tonight. I’d rather lose and be upset about it at the end of this game than tie.”
ETHS sophomore Erick Balthazar booted home a ball that was pinballing around in the box with 11 minutes and 45 seconds remaining in the first half. Niles North notched the equalizer in the 56th minute on a goal by Adrian Coardos, who knifed in and knocked home a pass from teammate Benjamin Ibarra.
North was content to boom long kicks rather than attempt to string passes together after that, and settled for another tie in a 6-4-6 season to date. Evanston is now 12-1-5 on the year.
Calixte lamented his team’s inability to punch another goal in --- and the fact that the Wildkits didn’t make the adjustments drawn up by the coaching staff at halftime. Forward Oli Jacques had three quality chances in the last 18 minutes, and both Brett Lowry and Christian Rodriguez were just wide on shot attempts prior to Niles North’s goal.
“We could easily have had two or three goals in the second half,” said the coach. “These boys have to understand better how to make adjustments and close games out. They’re not getting it yet. They’re not listening. We’ve got to do a better job of making adjustments in the second halves of games. There’s a fine line between playing with composure, and playing with intensity.”
The Wildkits were minus midfielder Gus Fleps, who was out sick, but still threatened to blow the game open in the second half. North goalie Eddie Kim (6 saves) rose to the occasion when he stopped a point blank attempt by Jacques with 18:25 left in the contest.
Ten minutes later, Balthazar couldn’t quite catch up with a rolling ball that eventually trickled over the end line, with keeper Kim caught off his line. Kim later cut off a pair of attempts, although they weren’t officially credited as saves.
Evanston goalie Adam Masters was a late-game hero when he got a hand on a shot by Kostas Stamatopoulos and deflected it wide of the net. Masters finished with 6 saves.