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Game story: Salgado brace leads Leyden past Downers Grove North

By Jared Birchfield, 09/01/23, 11:15AM CDT


Eagles end St. Charles tourney pool play with 2-straight wins

ST. CHARLES – Leyden downed Downers Grove North with early and late bookend goals from Oliver Salgado on Wednesday in the teams’ final St. Charles Invitational pool match.

Salgado gave Eagles the lead quickly with his opener in the third minute. The senior midfielder completed the scoring with 2:40 left.

Leyden goalkeeper Daniel Llanos kept the Trojans off the scoreboard for his second shutout of the season.

The Eagles finished Blue Pool play with a 2-1-x record to tie St. Charles North and West Chicago. After factoring in tiebreakers like goals scored and goals allowed, the Eagles placed third. Leyden (2-2-0) will square off with Orange Pool counterpart Metea Valley (1-2-0) for fifth place honors at 9 a.m. Saturday at St. Charles East. The game will be followed by the seventh place march between Downers Grove North (0-3-0) and Wheaton Academy (1-3).

Salgado scored the first goal after connecting on a cross from teammate Duvan Trujillo. He 
headed the ball in from just outside the goal box.

“I was just following the play. I saw my friend making a run,” Salgado said. “He crossed it in,
and I scored.”

Leyden’s late insurance tally came on a breakaway. Salgado got behind the defense and beat Downers Grove North keeper Adi Zaveri to a loose ball at the left corner of the penalty box. He slammed home the uncontested shot to finish his brace.

“(Trujillo) gave me another through-ball,” the senior said. “I had to take on the keeper and then
shoot and score.”

Leyden coach Mark Valintis would have appreciated less drama.

“Wish it would have happened sooner,” Valintis said. “But you know, Downers Grove North was
a really tough nut to crack today, so credit to their backline and goalie. Getting that last goal was a nice sigh of relief.”

Salgado’s scoring earned the midfielder Chicagoland Soccer Man of the Match honors.

The senior said his teammates deserve most of the credit for the Eagles’ goals.

“I want to thank my teammates for everything. They’re the ones that help me score,” Salgado
said. “They assist me and do everything on the pitch.”

Downers Grove North just missed tying the contest a few minutes after Leyden’s icebreakerr. Jimmy Harkness got off a close-in shot that went over the cross bar.

Leyden responded with a flurry of shots on goal. Zaveri made four of his five saves between
the 10th and 26th minutes of the first half.

“We scored in the first couple of minutes, so it’s always nice to get that first one and put them on their heels,” Valintis said. “I thought we had a good opening half of the first half.”

Salgado just missed on two back-to-back attempts at the 30:17 mark of the first half. After Zaveri deflected the midfielder’s close-in boot, he sent his rebound shot right back to the keeper.

In the last part of the first half, momentum swung the other way according to Valintis.

“Downers Grove North started to find their groove a little bit late in the first half. We struggled
with their central midfield a little bit. Numbers 11 (Harkness), 23 (Ryan Wilson) and 14 (Aldo
Velazquez) started to take over control of the game,” said the Leyden coach. “I thought our
backline did a really good job of sorting things out, so it didn’t really get too dangerous through the run of play.”.

The Eagles’ manager likes how his defensive unit is gelling.

“I think they’re really starting to get together, especially Duvan (Trujillo) and Fabian Rodriguez
in the middle,” Valintis said. “They are controlling everything, communicating with the guys
really well so we’re all on the same page. When we’re working as a unit, it makes it so difficult
for the other team to break us down.”

Trujillo agrees the backline is in sync.

“Mainly, it’s just communication in the back and the way the center backs work together,” he

The senior defender also felt Monday’s 2-0 pool play win over St. Charles North, which is ranked 21st in the Chicagoland Soccer Top 25, was a morale booster for the entire team.

“We did pretty well against Saint Charles (North); that’s where we picked it up,” said Trujillo. “I
feel like we’re now doing a lot better in our attacking.”

Valintis likes his option of playing forwards Jesus Ramos, Yovani Guevara and Alexis Santos.

“We have three different guys that we can put up there. and they all offer something different. It’s very difficult to defend against, so it’s nice to kind of have that change of pace,” he said.
”I thought they all played really, really well today.”

Downers Grove North continued to dominate run of play at the start of the second half but was unable to capitalize.

“Second half, Downers Grove North came out with a little bit more fire and energy and put us on our heels right away,” said Valintis. “Credit to our guys that we found a way to stick together and keep fighting.”

Downers Grove North coach Rafal Slomba felt a lack of finishing on set plays hampered his team’s offense. His squad had three corner kicks and five free kicks. The pressure to score on restarts is due to an early season issue.

“Unfortunately, most of our attack has been coming off the set pieces, so we really haven’t been putting in many shots,” said the Trojans coach, who is in his first season with the program after moving over from Richards. “I believe we have maybe two or three shots on target from open play. That’s something again we have to work on.”

To make matters worse, Leyden keyed on Downers Grove North’s main scoring threat, Holden Peckenpaugh.

“Number 23 (Peckenpaugh) is a pretty good player, so we just adapted to their attacking,” Trujillo said. “We just double-teamed him whenever he got the ball.”

Slomba is looking for more consistent play from his squad.

“I think for the most part we defended well. We’re organized, but then we just kind of turn off the switch for seconds at a time,” he said. “Unfortunately, those seconds usually end up in them scoring goals on us. 

“We learn from it, and we move forward. That’s the only thing you can do. It’s still a long, long season. We’re only three games in”.

Starting lineups

GK: Daniel Llanos
D: Stefano Andrino
D: Fabian Rodriguez
D: Yadier DeLaCruz
D: Duvan Trujillo
MF: Brylee Molina
MF: Ariel Diaz
MF: Oliver Salgado
MF: Brandon Delgado
MF: Rafa Nozka
F: Jesus Ramos

Downers Grove North
GK: Adi Zaveri
D: Conor Shewe
D: Will Beaty
D: Ben Llewellyn
D: Aaron Ericksen
MF: Jimmy Harkness
MF: Aldo Velazquez
MF: Kobi Marquez
MF: Oliver Davies
F: Ryan Willson
F: Holden Peckenpaugh

Chicagoland Soccer Man of the Match: Oliver Salgado, sr., MF, Leyden

Scoring Summary

First half
Leyden: Salgado (Trujillo), 3’

Second Half
Leyden: Salgado (Trujillo) 77’