BRIDGEVIEW – Morton boys soccer has played in a lot of close, low-scoring matches this season and come out on top.
Sunday in the Pepsi Showdown final at Toyota Park, one of those games went against them. Morton lost to Lane Tech 1-0 for only the Mustangs' second loss of the season.
"Most of those games go our way," said Morton coach Mike Caruso. "A lot of games we've had are 1-0 in our favor, but it came back to bite us today."
After a scoreless first half, Lane broke the deadlock when Jaime Lopez unloaded on a shot at the edge of the box on his first touch following a corner kick. Lopez's powerful strike in the 48th minute found the upper 90 and gave goalkeeper Ian Chacon no chance to stop it.
The Mustangs were unable to find any chances in the second half until the final few minutes. Caruso said it was the most trouble Morton has had connecting passes and possessing the ball.
"It's very unlike us," Caruso said. "For whatever reason we were just off. Some of it has to do with their pressure defense, too, but it just seemed like they had a little bit quicker step today."
Morton (15-2) entered the final with a 12-match winning streak that included wins over Downers Grove South, Addison Trail and Downers Grove North last week. In the Mustangs' four wins to get to the final, three of them came by a one-goal margin.
It was the second year in a row Morton lost the final 1-0. Last year Lyons Township beat the Mustangs 1-0. Morton won the title in 2010.
"This is my third time playing here for the Pepsi Showdown, but every year is the same," said senior midfielder Edgar Garcia. "It's a lone goal. I knew it was hard going in because [Lane] beat LT and they just kept moving up.
"I think we were more focused on how to play. I don't think we were focused much on how much we wanted it."