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Game story: Despite possession edge, Bartlett ties Hoffman Estates

By Mike Garofola, 08/27/23, 5:15PM CDT


Battle of Hawks ends in 1-1 draw

HOFFMAN ESTATES – Bartlett had host Hoffman Estates on the ropes when Angel Hernandez found his brother Gio four minutes from time. That resulted in a 1-1 draw early Saturday afternoon in a nonconference affair at Garber Stadium.

First-year Bartlett head coach Anthony Glorioso's men were outstanding in the attack and stellar throughout with their defensive composure. Yet it was one let down which led to the tying goal and dashed their hopes of victory.

"It was three mental mistakes that led to goals in our opener against St. Charles East the other day and one (today),” said Glorioso, who took over for Vince Revak this fall after serving as his longtime assistant. 

"Vince has two young children, plus he is manager of the girls in the spring, so it was a good time for both of us to make the switch.

“I can tell you we were so much better today than in our second game of the year. Despite coming out of here with a draw, I was very pleased with the play of our guys.”

Still, it was a frustrating outcome for the visitors.

"In the end, I'm not sure if it was a fair result," opined junior Nate Preissig, who was part of a Hawks backline that earned plenty of praise from Glorioso for their performance. “It was right there for us today, but Hoffman has a good team. I believe we do as well. We just have to get better in the final third in order to win games like this.

"Overall, I felt like we played well as a unit along the back. They were more dangerous in the second half, but Adrian (Mucha) played well in goal, as did (midfielder) Raul (Arismendi) who was amazing all day long for us."

The sophomore Arismendi, who shared Chicagoland Soccer Man of the Match honors with Hoffman Estates keeper Roberto Sanchez, stepped into the role as Bartlett’s no. 6. He was a constant ball-winner, keen in the tackle and provided quality service.

"We asked a lot of Raul today,” said Glorioso. “He really came through for us all afternoon. He just became an important piece for us at the six."

"I was just doing my job out there," said the soft spoken Arismendi. “I really like playing at that position.

"Our defense was organized and did a good job on their guys, especially in the second half when they created some really good chances."

Hoffman Estates came into this contest on a high note following its 5-1 season-opening victory over Highland Park. Angel Hernandez bagged three, while the talented and speedy striker David Balase scored once and added two helpers.

"This team is so much different than last year," said sixth-year manager Sean Armstrong, whose club was 5-13-2 overall and 2-8-1 in the Mid-Suburban League West Division in 2022. “The senior leadership is outstanding, and it's a hungry bunch that wants to succeed and make their mark not only in the conference but in the postseason.

"Bartlett has a very good team. They attacked us really well, especially in the first half, moved the ball quickly and connected passes. But we defended well when we needed to and kept their chances on frame to a minimum. It's too bad we didn't finish a couple of those really good opportunities we had in the second half."

With, or without the wind at its back, it was clear from the onset that the intent of Bartlett was to possess the ball, move it quickly, attack with speed and purpose, and build out of the back, particularly down the sidelines.

"Defending as well as we did allowed our outside backs to get forward from time-to-time, while also connecting with our midfielders, which really helped our attack be better," said Glorioso.

"I thought we were real active in the back today," added Preissig, who along with Mason Magnanao provided extra 'numbers going forward. “It helped us keep (them) under pressure a lot. Again, Raul was just great as our six in the 4-1-3-2 formation that we played.”

Added Glorioso: "Nate and Mason played well as our outside backs. Ryan (Wozny) and (Adan) Rueda were solid and composed as our central defenders."

Each side managed to show some attacking spirit during the early going. From just outside the box, Bartlett (0-1-1) had a pair of shots blocked on the way in. The host Hawks found the aforementioned Balase with early balls that his terrific speed allowed him to run on to. But Bartlett’s defenders reacted quickly to tackle and slow his efforts.

"(They) played a really good, high line. I would guess we were called for 8-10 offsides on the day, which had a big effect on our attack," admitted Armstrong.

Six offside flags were raised by the assistant referee in the first half with three more after the intermission against Hoffman Estates.

Will Ehlers was a key figure in the Bartlett attack. The junior ran the show from his place in the middle of the park and connected constantly with his midfield mates. The Hawks enjoyed a high percentage of possession before the break.

"(Bartlett) had a lot of the play in the first half,” said Armstrong. “I was impressed with the way they moved the ball around and with their midfielders also. It was important for our backline to come through for us, and Roberto (Sanchez) whose punts, especially into the wind during that first half, helped us out of our own end."

"We are fortunate to have such an athletic keeper like Roberto, who can come off his line so quickly and decisively without fear."

Mucha, Sanchez's counterpart between the sticks for Bartlett, showed little fear on two separate occasions when the senior came far off his line to win 50-50 balls against Balase, who was in full gallop. Mucha ended the threats when he smothered the ball with confidence.

Hoffman Estate’s Aeddan Ledesma found the roof of the Bartlett net off a corner in the 23rd minute. Moments later, Arismendi tricked his way into the box before going just wide with his attempt.

The visitors had close to 80 percent of the possession in the first half and stayed in and around the Hoffman Estates end of the park. Despite the dominance, the visiting Hawks were unable to put anything of quality at Sanchez.

"My first two years with the varsity were much like today," said Preissig. “We have the ball a lot. In the final third is where we are not as sharp or dangerous as we need to be.”

The Hawks were shut out nine times last fall, including a heart-breaking 1-0 overtime defeat to St. Charles East in the regional opener that ended their season.

"I really feel like we have the players to help change all of that for us this year," added Preissig.

Arismendi was allowed to tee-up a left-footed effort in the 43rd minute that was blocked on its way toward Sanchez. On the other end, Luis Maestre Rangel gave the home attack some energy when he forced Mucha into action after a Hoffman corner.

The visitors came alive during an industrious five minutes of action nearing the halfway point of the second half.

A well-played 1-2 combination from Leo Colin and Kosta Zarmakoupis resulted in a corner and a half-chance from Wozny that was saved.

Bartlett continue to keep the ball in their opponents end after the corner with Ehlers, Zarmakoupis and Lucas Lopez at the center of it.

Lopez saw his attempt blocked, but the senior was quick to latch back on the carom, which spilled freely inside the Hoffman Estates box.

Once in possession, he was brought down and the referee pointed to the spot.

Once there, Lopez steered in his spot-kick with plenty of pace to the left of Sanchez, who had no chance to save.

"On the day and despite all of their possession, they were not able to get anything dangerous on frame through the run of play," said Armstong. “Sometimes that doesn't matter, because they were able to create that PK for themselves, but I really like the way we responded to that PK."

The home side came right back with a well-struck left-footed snap-shot by Ledesma from 16 yards that Mucha saved.

Ledesma, through nice work by Chris Palmerthen Balase, was free to unload a wicked cracker that could have dented the bar. It was easily the most dangerous attempt on frame by both clubs until the 75th minute.

That's when Mucha made a valiant save on a Balase short-range effort. The rebounded bounded off the Hawks keeper and took a turn toward the back of the net. An alert Preissig took the ball off the line to keep the Bartlett advantage safe.

Hoffman Estates threw everything forward in its effort to draw back level. Gio Hernandez made the strategy pay off with a deft, one-touch effort that went up-and-over the outstretched gloves of Mucha in the 76th minute.

"It all happened so fast. The ball was on my foot, and I just one-touched it past the keeper who was off his line," said Gio Hernandez, who demonstrated with his right foot how his side-footed attempt ended in the back of Mucha's net.

"Adrian is beside himself for that goal," said Glorioso of his keeper. “But we didn't defend the way we needed to with them putting so much pressure on us during those last 5-6 minutes of the game. (Mucha) played a great game for us, and that goal was not his fault.”

"I told the boys afterward this game can become a game of inches -- witnessed by that shot Balase had off the bar," said Armstrong. “But it was a very good game between two good teams, and I felt our play in the second half was something we'll build from."

Hoffman Estates will host Wheaton North (0-2-0) at 7 p.m. Monday.

"I am very proud of our effort today," began Glorioso, whose club will begin pool play at the annual Best of the West on Tuesday against tourney co-host Naperville Central. “We had a chance to come out of here with a win, but we just could not hold on for those last 4-5 minutes.

"We are still a very young team with a ton of juniors on our roster. We'll see those guys improve each time out as they continue to gain experience playing at this level.

"Again, our backline was terrific; we possessed the ball really well. Jack (Conner) was solid as our off-ball target up-top. There were a lot of positive things to take from this game with us."

Starting lineups

Bartlett (4-1-3-2)
G- Adrian Mucha
D- Nate Preissig
D- Ryan Wozny
D- Adan Rueda
D- Mason Magnanao
M- Raul Arismendi
M- Cristian Avila
M- Lucas Lopez
M- Will Ehlers
F- Jack Conner
F- Erick Montelongo

Hoffman Estates (4-2-3-1)
GK- Roberto Sanchez
D- Joseph O'Brien
D- Henry Henning
D- Amer Sabic
D- Daniel Cabrera
M- Oziel Morales
M- Luis Maestre Rangel
M- Gio Hernandez
M- Angel Hernandez
M- Chris Palmer
F- David Balase

Chicagoland Soccer Men of the Match: Raul Arismendi, so., MF, Bartlett;
Roberto Sanchez, jr., GK, Hoffman Estates

Referee: Wojciech Myrda

Scoring summary

First Half
No scoring

Second half
Bartlett: Lopez (PK), 56'
Hoffman Estates: G. Hernandez (A. Hernandez) 76'