Plainfield South can't contain Romeoville Cougars score 2 PKs, but Romeoville senior pours in 4 goals
By Steve Millar
ROMEOVILLE – Plainfield South seems to have perfected a couple things early in the season: drawing penalties and converting on them.
The Cougars also put together a second half Tuesday against Romeoville that they hope will help them build some momentum.
None of that, though, was enough to break through for their first win. Romeoville senior forward Edrik Padilla scored four goals and the host Spartans earned a 5-2 Southwest Prairie Conference victory.
“I definitely liked the way we responded in the second half,” said Plainfield South coach Bryant Williams, after his team played the Spartans even over the final 40 minutes. “I told the boys after the game that we take the second half, and that’s what we build on.
“Other than the penalty kick, we held them scoreless during the run of play in the second half. I was pleased with that, especially after the way we played the last three halves of soccer(going back to a 5-0 loss to Plainfield Central on Thursday). I’ll take that half as something to build on.”
Senior Miki Derka scored both goals for Plainfield South (0-2-1, 0-2-1) on the spot-kicks.
Padilla, Chicagoland Soccer’s Man of the Match, powered Romeoville (1-2-1, 1-2-1). He scored four times and assisted on the Spartans’ other goal, scored by sophomore midfielder Ryan Budz.
“We did a good job playing out of the back and finding our roamers in the midfield,” Budz said. “We have John (Renteria) who roams in the midfield, and he’s really good at connecting with Edrik up-top. We played a lot of good through-balls, too.”
Tyler Budz made a strong run down the right side and centered the ball to Padilla, who buried a high shot for the opening goal in the seventh minute.
Ten minutes later, it was Padilla doing the table-setting. He cut down the middle of the field and drew the attention of several Plainfield South defenders before he dished the ball off to a wide-open Ryan Budz who converted.
“We try to put pressure on and take a lot of shots,” Ryan Budz said. “We just have to finish those chances when we get them.”
The Spartans certainly took a lot of shots in the first half. They put 12 on goal in the opening 40 minutes.
Cougars junior goalkeeper Robin Coetzee did his best to limit the scoring. He made eight saves in one half of action including a lunging stop on a good look for Renteria just moments after the second Spartans’ goal.
Romeoville made it 3-0 in the 18th minute when Padilla took a long pass from defender Alex Escot, got behind the defense on a counterattack and scored his second goal.
The Cougars fought back and broke through just a minute later.
Speedy junior Melchizedek Mensah, who moved up-top from his typical midfield spot for this game, danced around a couple defenders down the left side of the field and broke into the box where he was taken down to earn a penalty.
Derka converted it with a low liner inside the left post.
“Nobody can guard me in the conference,” Mensah said. “I already knew I had a 1-v-1. Coach always tells me to take those. He tells me nobody can guard me in the conference. I took that opportunity, drew the penalty, and we scored.
“We know Miki is going to put those PKs away.”
Padilla was back at it for Romeoville when he talled the hat-trick with 4:37 left in the first half. He took advantage of a Cougars' miscue and scored into an open net to make it 4-1 and deliver a deflating moment for a Plainfield South side that had started to generate momentum.
Mensah, though, was a major bright spot for the Cougars.
He generated several opportunities with his speed and craftiness on the outside.
“I try to have a flair and creativity,” he said. “You can’t win soccer games if you aren’t creative. That’s part of my game. I want it to be so that you never know what I’m going to do.”
Williams is hopeful Mensah can help continue to spark more offensive output from the Cougars.
“Mel’s a kid that just never stops,” Williams said. “He’s got a good head for the game. He’s got that motor going full-speed the whole game. He doesn’t look that big, but he’s a strong kid, and he really surprises some people with his strength.
“He doesn’t shy away from contact. He’s a good guy for us to have on the outside.”
The Cougars continued their penalty kick success in the second half. Junior midfielder Owen O’Shea made a strong move into the penalty area and was taken down in the 52nd minute.
Derka again capitalized, this time going the opposite way with a line-drive to the right side to pull the Cougars within 4-2.
All three of Plainfield South’s goals this season have come on Derka penalty kicks.
“Drawing penalties means we’re creating opportunities,” Williams said. “We’re putting some stress on the defense where they feel like they have to take that chance and take the penalty. I’ll take those opportunities.”
Romeoville converted on a penalty kick of its own to close the scoring after Padilla was taken down. He booted home the final goal of the game in the 68th minute.
That capped a big day of offense for the home side.
“This feels good to get the first win,” Ryan Budz said. “Now, we just need to work on not letting them back in the game. We gave up those two goals. Other than that, we’re happy with this game, and we should be good going forward.”
Plainfield South, meanwhile, was a much tougher side in the second half than in the first. Romeoville had just two shots on goal after halftime.
“Our key in the second half was intensity,” Mensah said. “We’ve been struggling with that all season. We need to come out from the get-go and hit them in the mouth. We focused on that in the second half.
“We had some frustration building up and some lack of team chemistry. So, the second half, we just stayed positive, focused on what we were doing well and kept marching no matter what the score was.”
Going forward, Mensah said all the Cougars need to hold themselves accountable to get the positive results they want.
“It starts from you, yourself,” he said. “If you do your job, other people will see you and be like, ‘He’s doing his job; I have to do my job.’ It’s like a chain reaction.
“The first half, I drew that penalty, but I need to do more. The second half, I tried to pick up my game. I was able to frustrate their defense a little bit, get around them. That started to get everyone going, but we couldn’t capitalize.
“We’re trying to be more of a possession team. This was our first game trying some new things, and I like the way we played.”
Plainfield South GK: Robin Coetzee D: Tyler Purdy D: Rocco Rizzi D: Thomas Garner D: Jason Gerding M: Miki Derka M: Justin Dalessandro M: David Sanchez M: Owen O'Shea F: Ernesto Cortina F: Melchizedek Mensah
Romeoville GK: Lucas Ortiz D: Alex Escot D: Christian Lechuga D: Antonio Hernandez D: Nahom Eyassu M: Ricardo Zuniga M: Ryan Budz M: Tyler Budz M: John Renteria F: Adrian Lechuga F: Edrik Padilla
Chicagoland Soccer Man of the Match: Edrik Padilla, sr., MF, Romeoville