CALUMET CITY | Thornton Fractional just needed this win as a boost to its players' confidence.
T.F. opened South Suburban Blue Conference play on Tuesday afternoon with a 4-0 win over Evergreen Park at T.F. North. Senior midfielder Adam Sarih had two goals for Thornton Fractional, and Emmanuel Ogunbode and Brandon Ostrowski added one goal each in the win.
Thornton Fractional struggled to find the back of the net in the first half, but four second-half goals provided a much-needed boost.
"It took us a while to get a goal, but once we did, we kind of got the ball rolling," T.F. coach Alejandro Lagunas said. "We kind of needed that as a confidence booster to try and get everyone on the same page. I think we played well."
Thornton Fractional was unable to finish on numerous first-half chances at the offensive end, and Evergreen Park keeper Keith Ritter was able to keep the Mustangs much closer than the score would indicate. T.F. keeper Dominic Sulli had a solid, but quiet night in goal as he recorded three saves in the combined shutout victory. Backup keeper Jairo Ruiz saw late action for Thornton Fractional and made two stops.
"We definitely needed this win," Sulli said. "We didn't give up. We stayed 100 percent the whole game.
"It's what we've been training for this whole time. (We play) straight defense and then we'll worry about scoring later."
Ogunbode gave Thornton Fractional a 1-0 lead 14 minutes into the second half, off an assist from Jeremy Celmer. Sarih then found the net just 10 minutes later to put T.F. up 2-0, and another Sarih goal six minutes after extended the lead to 3-0.
"I was just in the right place at the right time," Sarih said of his two goals. "We needed this win in this way and it is a boost to our confidence."
Ostrowski scored with just seven minutes left in the match, with sophomore defender Ray Kobus earning the assist on a long pass deep into the Evergreen Park box.
"Basically, we've been working really hard in practice (and) bringing what we do in practice into the game," Kobus said. "The 4-0 win is a big confidence booster for us."