STERLING – In the first 3 minutes of Tuesday’s boys soccer game between Moline and Sterling, the Maroons unleashed a flurry of shots, only to be turned away.
The Golden Warriors had a 1-on-1 breakaway by Lucas Sotelo, but came up empty as well.
As the game wore on, Moline kept peppering the goal with shots, while Sterling’s opportunities dried up. The result was a 7-2 victory for the Maroons at Roscoe Eades Stadium.
Moline (9-5-3, 2-4-1 Western Big Six) has had trouble generating offense at times, but against Sterling, it was not an issue. The Maroons out-shot the Golden Warriors 27-4.
“That’s one of the things that we have been struggling with,” Moline coach Rick Sanchez said. “We’ve been spending some time on the offensive side of the field. The guys have been putting in the work, and the last couple of games it has shown.”
Moline broke the ice with a goal from Jared Raber with 34:18 remaining in the first half. It followed a corner kick.
Ten minutes later, the Maroons’ Blake Bastian scored the first of his two goals. He struck again with 8:42 to play in the half, after outrunning a Sterling defender to the ball on a dump-and-chase, and slipping a shot past Warriors’ goalie Sergio Garcia.
The lone goal of the first half for Sterling (9-10-2, 2-4) came with 3 minutes on the clock, as Adrian Herrera unleashed a missile from 30 yards that curled into the upper-right side of the net.
Moline quickly took charge in the second half. It took less than 3 minutes before Jose Ruiz poked in a shot, off an assist from Saheed Jah, who had dribbled the ball from the corner to set up his teammate.
That opened the floodgates. Ruiz scored his second goal with 32:25 to play, with an assist from Bastian.
David Rosas drove in a goal from about 35 yards with 22:41 to go, with another assist from Jah.
Moline concluded its scoring at the 18:28 mark of the second half on Raber’s second goal. Chris Lopez assisted on the play.
Sterling got its second goal with 14:49 to play, on a penalty kick from Sotelo. Herrera had been taken down in the box to set up that goal.
All in all, it was just a rough night on both ends of the field for the Golden Warriors, according to head coach Brian Cebula.
“It was a mix of a lot of things – both errors on our end, and the fact they’re a quality team,” Cebula said. “Their No. 10 [Bastian] and No. 7 [senior midfielder Isaac Ruiz] did a really good job, and our defenders kept stabbing. We made it easy for them to get around.
“On top of that, when we did defend well enough, we gave the ball away real easily. We fell into the trap of defending, defending, defending, winning it, and then giving it back. It was wave after wave of attacks, and eventually the defense breaks down a bit. Sergio can only do so much back there.”
Moline 7, Sterling 2
Star of the game: Blake Bastian, Moline, 2 goals, assist
Key performers: Jose Ruiz, Moline, 2 goals; Adrian Herrera, Sterling, goal
Up next: Sterling at DeKalb, 6 p.m. Thursday