Loyola’s Francis ignites scoring explosion against St. Joseph
Loyola's Kevin Francis gets the pass away in front of St. Joseph's Victor Moreno during their match at the Loyola Munz Campus September 27, 2012. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 27, 2012 10:35PM
GLENVIEW — The score deceived though Loyola’s dominance was thorough and complete.
Even so, for three quarters of the match, St. Joseph found a way to stay close. The big reason was the play of senior keeper Patrick Brown, who thwarted several prime Loyola scoring chances.
St. Joseph never matched the offensive firepower or found a way to crack Loyola’s tough defense and they fell 4-0 on a cool and windy Thursday afternoon at Loyola’s sports complex in Glenview.
St. Joseph star senior forward Octavio Gutierrez said the Chargers were out of sync early and never recovered.
“We just did a poor job of communicating out there, and not really understanding what we were trying to do,” he said.
Senior midfielder Kevin Francis recorded a goal and an assist as the host Ramblers. The Ramblers (10-5, 2-1 Catholic Blue) turned the game into a rout with a three-goal flurry during an 11-minute burst of the second half. Francis was the catalyst of that push.
“I wanted to score so badly,” he said of the final goal.
He improved his personal marks to eight goals and nine assists. Francis sealed the deal, but it was junior midfielder Gil Maloul who set the table. Using the wind to his perfect advantage, he curved a ball that deflected off a Chargers’ player into the near post in the 17th minute for the first goal.
“I got a little lucky with the deflection, but the whole sequence was well-executed and played,” he said.
The goal stood. If anything, the Ramblers failed to capitalize on several prime scoring opportunities to put the game away early.
On four separate plays, including the opening seconds of the second half, Loyola had Chargers’ senior keeper Patrick Brown on his heels and in a vulnerable position, only to either direct the ball right at him or miss open nets.
“It was frustrating at times, but also, we dominated possession and didn’t really let them have any real scoring chances,” Maloul said. “The thing about the goal is, I think, we started to relax and settle down after that, and we played a lot looser.
“We also did some great things with our set pieces,” he said.
Loyola broke through in the 67th minute. On a counter play, senior midfielder Corey Meehan made a perfect throw-in that junior forward Josh Word caught in perfect stride. Word advanced the ball down the left sideline and delivered a superb left-footed cross that junior forward Charlie Floyd smashed into the back of the net.
Francis’ play on a follow-up set piece, off a corner, keyed the third goal by junior midfielder Alex Lopez in the 73rd minute. Francis punctuated the dominant show with another short ball that he converted for the final goal in the 77th minute.
“We did a good job in that second half, especially considering we were going against the wind,” he said.
St. Joseph coach Stan Niemiec was clearly upset by the lethargic play of the Chargers (8-5-1, 1-2), declining questions and ordering his team to the team bus immediately after the match ended.