Soccer fans from all over the Chicago convened at Grand Sports Arena in Hoffman Estates on Sunday afternoon to watch arena soccer that showcased some of the areas best talent. In a match that would put Chicago’s undefeated professional team against one of the top amateur teams in the area, the stakes were as high as they could be for both teams. The prize; a spot in the Quarter Finals of the largest Pro/Am arena soccer tournament in the world, and a one in eight chance of being crowned the best team in the nation.
As the match prepared to kickoff, the divide in the stands was apparent as fans of both teams cheered loudly in support. The game got under way, and almost without hesitation the Mustangs began to pick apart the Eagles backline. Mustang’s veteran Miguel Vaca struck first when he put in a tap past AAC Eagles keeper Piotr Sylwa on a precise cross pitch pass from Omar Santillan. Another by Mustangs young star Bryan Moya, who scored unassisted, quickly followed that goal. The Mustangs had silenced the Eagles support in the stands in only three minutes, and reaffirmed why they were not a team to take lightly. The early burst of points allowed Mustang’s coaches Armando Gamboa and Freddy Ochoa the ability to work on defensive strategy and get a game speed gauge on some of the third and fourth defensive rotations. The defense looked perfect, and kept the game that way to finish off the first quarter.
Going into the second quarter the mood on the Mustang’s bench went from work to play as their lines began to mix in players that have not had the opportunity to suit up, or see much action, for PASL games this season. Players like forward Alexis Camarena, defender Alex Paredes and midfielder Jose Mendoza were among the players that left an impressive impression on the coaches from both sides with their skilled play. And as the fun spread through the Mustangs roster the goals began to flow again with Luis “Pee Wee” Ortega scoring two and Efrain “Wilo” Martinez and Omar Santillan both marking one of their own. The half would have ended with the Eagles scoreless, had it not been for a late second quarter unassisted goal by Jakub Gurgul that caught the Mustangs off guard with less then a minute to go in the half. As both teams entered their locker rooms at the half, it had seemed all but over for the Eagles.
When play resumed in the second half, it was the Eagles who struck first on a Patryk Gorajewski unassisted goal two minutes in to the quarter. It was on the Mustangs to respond, and they did without hesitation when Vaca stole the ball away from Eagles keeper Sylwa as he tried to stall in the box so his team could do a quick line change. Vaca quickly passed the ball out to Wilo, who drove a shot into the upper right corner of the goal. It was apparent that the mustangs were having a good time, and the frustration from the Eagles was beginning to show. The visiting team began to make a physically driven push, and was able to score twice as Jakub Gurgul scored his second of the match and Gordy Gurson was able to score on a Marek Golic assist. But again, the progress made by the Eagles was thwarted when Mustang’s breakout star Wilo scored again to get the hat trick and stretch the Mustangs lead back to four. As the Mustangs athleticism began to take center stage, it was apparent that no amount of physicality could beat the Mustangs speed, stamina and ability to move the ball. As the third quarter was nearing the end, Pee Wee Ortega left his mark by getting a hat trick of his own.
In the fourth quarter, the Mustangs put the game on cruise control. Gamboa and Ochoa chose to rest some of the roster and again get some more playing time for the other players on the roster. The Eagles again saw the back of the net on a Golic goal to go with his earlier assist. Again, the home team was able to answer back quickly as defender Chico put up his first goal as a Chicago Mustang. Even as the Eagles tried to bait the Mustangs into a fight as the game clock wound down, the Mustangs continued to keep composure. Following the game, both teams met at midfield to shake hands and show respect for each other. It is very clear that the Eagles deserved to be there, and the Mustangs gave them their respect for giving it all they had.
The Mustangs now switch their focus back to the Professional Arena Soccer League as they prepare to host divisional rivals Illinois Piasa on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at Grand Sports Arena. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:05 PM. The Mustangs will try to keep their perfect season in tact and continue their campaign to win the Ron Newman Cup. For tickets to this game visit http://chicagomustangspro.ticketleap.com/chicago-mustangs-vs-illinois-piasa2/t/pr122313/. They make great stocking stuffers!