ROCHELLE — There were chances for the Rochelle boys soccer team to nail the equalizer when the Hubs trailed Earlville late in the second half on Tuesday. But after senior forward Max Torres brought the Red Raiders within one goal, Rochelle was unable to connect one more time as the Hubs suffered their first loss of the 2019 season.
Sophomore forward Josue Orozco put the Hubs on the board first, scoring from an assist by junior midfielder Josh Hurtado and giving Rochelle a 1-0 lead. Earlville rebounded with three unanswered first-half goals, and the gap was enough to hold the Hubs off by a final score of 3-2. Rochelle dropped to 1-1 overall with the loss.
“We may have underestimated Earlville a little bit when we came out to start the game,” head coach Brad Male said. “They were more aggressive than we were and they were staying on top of us. The second half was a different story, but we need to put 80 solid minutes together and that’s what it’s going to take for us to win.”
Trailing for the first time this season, the Hubs took advantage of the wind when junior defender Damian Salinas launched a through ball from the back line that soared across midfield and found Torres, who beat two Earlville defenders and left-footed the ball past the Red Raider keeper in the 55th minute. While Earlville finishing with more goals, the Red Raiders had far fewer chances than Rochelle throughout the second half.
“We were down on each other defensively when they got a few through balls over us and capitalized,” Male said. “It was tough to see but the kids worked through it. There was a different team out there in the second half, but we need to continue playing together.”
The Hubs had one final look at the Earlville net in the last seconds of regulation. Junior forward Brayan Orozco dribbled left and took a shot from the top of the penalty area that bounced off the leg of an Earlville defender and out of play. Rochelle was awarded a corner kick, but time expired as the Hubs prepared to send the ball into the Earlville zone.
“We need to play a level-headed soccer game and we can’t be in a hurry because we’re down,” Male said. “We need to run our offense and make sure we’re looking for good passes and good shots on goal.”