The Effingham Flaming Hearts used a second-half explosion of seven goals to help defeat the St. Anthony Bulldogs 10-3.
“The first half was slow,” said Effingham head coach Weston Peno. “But after we lit a fire under them and started to move, I’m always happy the way they move the ball upfield. We finally cleaned up the defense a little bit, which was nice. It took a little bit thought.”
Tucker Moeller got the scoring started 11 minutes in on a beautiful throw in from Osvaldo Angel into the open space in the box.
Less than two minutes later, Victor Hugo Carillo scored after flashing some fancy footwork and ball handling to go up by two.
In the 15th minute, St. Anthony’s Luke Swingler took advantage of a bad pass back from the Effingham midfield to make the score 2-1.
Each team scored once more before the half was over to give the Flaming Hearts a 3-2 lead at the break.
In the second half, the Bulldogs managed to draw even on a header from Jack Elder.
The tie was short lived however, as Osvaldo Angel scored on a long shot from around half field to take a 4-3 lead back within seconds.
“We were playing well, but we were playing with some kids that were not 100 percent,” said St. Anthony head coach Martin Reyes. “I think that that goal took a lot of emotional wind out of the sails we had.
“We started to attack, but not having too much of a bench with the injuries we had caught up to us. In the end, we were getting a little frustrated.”
From there the Flaming Hearts couldn’t be stopped, scoring a total of seven unanswered goals to close out the game, including a header from Jett McMillan with just over 20 seconds left.
“The flow started hitting,” Peno said. “We looked really good and rock solid. They still have a lot of room for improvement and that’s something we’re going to have to work on. But I’m happy with them.”
The Flaming Hearts showed its ability to create and score in a variety of different ways. They were able to score on long shots, they showed the ability to play the ball down the sideline and cross in, as well as using their creative and precise dribbling to get open shots in the box.
For the Flaming Hearts, Tucker Moeller and Bryan Angel each scored two, Victor Hugo Casillo scored one, as did Parker Siner, Josh Bowlin, Andrew Qiu, Jett McMillan and Osvaldo Angel.