BARRINGTON – Glenbrook North manager Paul Vignocchi owned up that his side had been outplayed at times. But he also had seen that it was also both resilient and resourceful. Even better, his roster refuses to submit.
And when the opportunity arose for the Spartans, they were happy to deploy one of their best weapons – the long throws of Chase Petersen.
After Glenbrook North equalized minutes after an exquisite opener from Streamwood junior A.J. Sabanovic, the 35th-annual Barrington Classic final looked bound for extra time.
But Petersen, who reached the far post on his throw-ins all night on the extra wide pitch at Barrington Community Stadium, uncorked another bomb one more time. This toss caused enough commotion in the Streamwood box that it allowed Ian Lee to find a way to slot home the eventual game-winner in the 69th minute.
The Spartans (5-0-1), who are ranked 16th in the Chicagoland Soccer Top 25, stayed airtight in their own end the rest of the way to ensure a 2-1 victory Saturday night and possession of the Barrington Classic trophy for the first time since coming to this long-running tournament.
"Chase is a very real weapon for us,” Vignocchi said. “It's led to several great chances for us thus far. When we have him in a position to give us one of his long throws, it's important that we take advantage.”
"(You) have to be ready for just about anything when Chase gives us one of his throws," added Spartans senior Steven Rhee, who was one of several from both clubs considered for Man of the Match honors. “They don't always find any of us in the box, (but) many times it just goes off a random player and falls -- giving us a chance to score.”
Sabanovic was a key figure in the attack for the Sabres (4-2-0), who at times had much of the play and possession but failed to turn it into another goal, or two.
"I really feel like we were the best team out there tonight, but coach says the better teams don't always win the game," said a dejected Sabanovic. “We just needed to finish the chances we created, and then it's a different result.”
"The boys are taking this loss real hard right now, but that's okay," began Sabres manager Matt Polovin. "Our two losses are both by one-goal. Our season-opener was another 2-1 loss to (no. 14) Libertyville.
"Two losses to very good teams, but I really feel like we're right there with both of them. We just have to continue to work hard, clean a few things up, and stay healthy.
"If we do, we should be in great shape at the end of the season."
Vignocchi relied on his backline of Jordan Elliott, Ben Melnick, Petersen and veteran Sam Lappin to keep things organized in front of keeper Gil Meyers. He utilized Ian Lee and Rhee to offer more protection in the Spartans end in order to neutralize a Sabres attack that comes in waves with pace and plenty of movement.
"We knew they were a very technical team that was also quick and used a lot of (1-2) touches," said Meyers. “We were ready for it, but they still made it difficult on us, especially in the first half.”
With Bryan Huerta and Jairo Sanchez running the show almost seamlessly in the middle of the park, teammates Andy Benitez, Sergio Berrera and Sabanovic were dangerous in the 4-3-3 formation Polovin employed.
With the skill on the ball that all of the Sabres' players possess, it was no surprise to see their outside backs involved in a variety of ways when going forward.
"It's a real luxury to have two guys on the outside like Alex (Alcala) and Andy Mendoza who each bring a great touch and so much energy for us. They are real weapons that we like to use going forward," said Polovin.
Berrera had the best first chance of the match at 13 minutes -- an angled effort from 20 yards that went over the bar.
Moments later, a long free kick from the midline by Petersen found Ian Lee, but a sea of black and gold shirts quickly put an end to that threat.
Jack Armstrong and Lukasz Wilczek created a little trouble for Streamwood in the 21st minute, but one too many touches allowed the Sabres to easily clear the area.
Glenbrook North had a near miss 60 seconds later when Yianny Caparos passed to Ian Lee, who connected with Brady Spriggs and nearly put him in on Sabres keeper Issac Morales.
A collective effort along the Sabres backline ended Spriggs’ chance for a 1-v-1.
The match settled in after this exchange, and the Sabres began playing a little too direct for Polovin's taste. Glenbrook North slowly began to come into the match as it found more possession with more patience going forward.
"I felt like it took us awhile to finally play the way we know we can," Ian Lee said. “It just seemed like we were defending so much in the first 20 minutes or so, which we really had to at that point.”
Sabanovic headed wide a corner from Huerta, before Glenbrook North had a pair of mid-range efforts blocked on the way in before a wonderful build-up from the Spartans led up to a glorious chance just before the intermission.
Rhee, Eli Shuman and Jackson Lee were at the heart of the build-up that sent Ian Lee inside the six.
There, the senior unleashed a point-blank attempt that required a valiant reaction save from Morales to keep things level at the break.
Sergio Berrera ended the first 40 minutes when he went just over the bar on the other end side of the park.
Both clubs started the second period as brightly as they finished the first half. Plenty of half-chances and some exciting counters opened up the game. It also started some of the chippy play that prevailed for most of the second half.
Referee Fabio Pompa did his best to keep order. Despite a total of 29 foul calls, he wasn't always able to things safe or sane.
Streamwood created consecutive corners after Jairo Sanchez and Ricardo Aguillar watched their shots carom off Spartans defenders.
An innocent looking throw-in was collected by Benitez, whose razor sharp pass to Sabanovic gave the Sabres big forward a chance to show off a lovely and lethal close-range touch. He gave Meyers no chance on his 55th-minute opener.
"(It) all happened so fast for me," said Sabanovic. “So it was important that I got a good touch on the ball.”
The Sabres were unable to enjoy their one-goal advantage for very long.
Ian Lee burst up the right side and had enough time and space to unload a wicked, angled blast that was saved by Morales. But the ball spilled free to an opportunistic Armstrong, whose sublime touch drew the Spartans even.
"A great effort from Ian, and Jack did a very good job of following the play in order to be in position to score," said Vignocchi.
The Armstrong equalizer brought both fan bases into the game. That meant an uptick in urgency and energy down on the floor
The sides traded corners, deep throws and free kicks for the next quarter hour until one of Petersen's patented long throws led to broken hearts for the Streamwood faithful.
"It wasn't the prettiest game out there tonight,” said Vignocchi. “(Both) teams played hard for 80 minutes. To be honest, Streamwood possessed way more than we did and was very impressive.
"We defended well in those 1-v-1 battles and had our moments when we created some good stuff going forward.
"But in a game like this, it's good to be a little lucky. Sometimes you need some luck to come out of a game like this one."
This week Glenbrook North plays Central Suburban League cross-overs against Maine East and Highland Park before hosting Von Steuben at nearby Techny Park.
Polovin and his men also have a busy week. Streamwood opens Upstate Eight Conference play at Larkin on Tuesday, before hosting Class 3A state runnerup Romeoville on Thursday. Then the Sabres open pool play of their Streamwood Fall Classic against back-to-back Class A Final Four finisher Timothy.
"We had our chances tonight, but we needed to be a little more composed in order to finish those chances," began Polovin. "We're young, and there's a lot of soccer ahead of us. We'll take what we learned from tonight and just keep going forward."
Glenbrook North (4-4-2)
G- Gil Meyers
D- Chase Petersen
D- Sam Lappin
D- Ben Melnick
D- Jordan Elliott
M- Yianny Caparos
M- Alex Ferencz
M- Steven Rhee
M- Ian Lee
F- Jackson Lee
F- Michael Miller
G- Issac Morales
D- Alex Alcala
D- Trey Yi
D- Merced Avila
D- Andy Mendoza
M- Bryan Huerta
M- Jario Sanchez
M- Max Galvan
F- Sergio Berrera
F- A.J. Sabanovic
F- Andy Benitez
Chicagoland Soccer Men of the Match: Ian Lee, sr., MF, Glenbrook North;
A.J. Sabanovic, jr., F, Streamwood
Referee: Fabio Pompa
Streamwood: Sabanovic (Benitiz), 55'
Glenbrook North: Armstrong (Ian Lee), 58'
Glenbrook North: Ian Lee (Petersen), 69'
Glenbrook North: 3
Glenbrook North: 7
Glenbrook North: 5
Glenbrook North: 2
Glenbrook North: 15