HOMEWOOD | The trouble right now for Homewood-Flossmoor is simply finding the back of its opponent's net.
The Vikings struggled to finish on their offensive chances Monday night, and a strong effort by Marian Catholic keeper Brian Taborn led to a 1-1 nonconference tie between the neighborhood foes. Taborn made two spectacular saves to keep H-F at bay, and a late first-half goal by Alec Guarino helped the Spartans earn a draw.
"We came out here and played with a lot of heart and a lot of energy, but it kind of fell apart at the end," Taborn said. "We've just got to keep progressing and, hopefully, we'll get better as the season goes on."
Guarino's goal came with 3:31 left in the first half, one minute after the first of Taborn's great saves. Off of a Vikings corner kick, Taborn was able to redirect a point-blank shot over the goal.
Taborn then came up with a second big save before a push by the Spartans' offense led to Guarino's goal.
"We played good, but our passing should have been a little better," Guarino said. "On the goal, I found an opening and no one made a run, so I just kept it. The opening was there, so I shot it and scored."
Marian (7-2-3) seemed to grow tired as the second half progressed, but it still managed to turn away several Vikings scoring chances. H-F senior Jairo Garcia was finally able to find the back of the net on a corner kick by Chris Vendrely with just over seven minutes left in the match.
Marian coach Nasser Shahtaji had been concerned with the Spartans' ability to defend the Vikings on corner kicks.
"Overall, we played a decent game," Shahtaji said after the match. "We were a little vulnerable on the corner kicks, and that was my advice at halftime -- that we need to act a little bit quicker on the corner kicks. Of course, it was on a corner kick that they scored."
H-F (2-3-2) squandered numerous chances in front of the Marian net, and Vikings coach Charlie Ward can only hope the goals will start to come soon.
"We're playing really well for most of the game," Ward said. "A couple mental letdowns here and there, (but) we're playing very well. We're just not finishing.
"All and all, we're playing good games for most of the game."