An entertaining affair throughout, goals from either side in the span of a few minutes meant that the scores were level going into the break. It seemed like the points were going to be shared, but Chicago managed to grab a late goal from a corner to take the lead. They then finished the job, holding on to pick up the win and all three points.
(Disclaimer: There was no roster sheet for Adria so all I had were their shirt numbers)
The first real chance fell to the House after 10 minutes. A corner wasn’t cleared properly, and the ball bounced right back to Shannon Seymour. He went for a first-time volley, but he blasted his effort way off target.
Things were even early on, and Adria had an opportunity of their own a little bit later. Number 5’s cross to number 10 rolled right into the path of the latter, but he couldn’t convert.
Number 5 then came close soon after. He was slipped through on goal, and his strike was a powerful one, but it rattled off the crossbar and away from danger.
The first goal came past the hour mark, and it was scored by the hosts. Alejandro Mentasti held the ball up in the box before laying it off to an onrushing Seymour, and he did the rest, slotting a lot into the bottom corner.
It didn’t take long for Adria to respond. A low cross rolled all the way out to number 6 on the edge of the area, and he decided to have a go. It’s a good thing he did, as his solid strike found its way into the back of the net, partially thanks to a deflection.
That was the end of the action in terms of the first half, but it picked right back up to begin the second half. A well-worked move from Chicago led to Ricardo Avalos Jr getting the ball on the left-hand side, but his near post finish hit the wrong side of the side-netting.
Adria nearly made them pay for that miss right after. The ball went right to number 5 thanks to a defensive miscue, and he did the smart thing and laid it off to number 17. His strike was promising, but it ended up rolling wide of the frame.
Number 5 was involved once again in the final third when he picked up the ball in a dangerous position. However, he dragged his shot, which made it miss the frame entirely.
Number 18 then nearly scored an absolute screamer from distance, but he missed the top corner by a few inches.
Those wasted chances would prove to be costly as the House jumped in front with 15 minutes to go. A corner flew right to Jack Kramer, who had just subbed on, and he headed home from a few yards out.
That proved to be the final highlight of the contest, with Chicago doing enough to clinch the win in front of their supporters.
Notes and observations
First things first, I spent about an hour with the House team and staff in their locker room before the game due to the rain and lightning going on outside. Almost everyone was looking at the weather app on their phones, yet no one actually knew what was going on.
Chicago’s players were about to play a game of UNO before it was announced that the match was actually going ahead since the lightning had cleared.
Adria had a child warm up with them before the game, which was wholesome.
The House have a nice thing going at DePaul College Prep, which is where they play their games. It’s in a good location, the stadium is quality, and there’s even a proper press box and concessions stand.
At one point, the scoreboard did freeze, and it was the 20th minute for about 10 minutes. That’s the magic of lower league soccer.
There’s nothing quite like watching a ball zip around on wet turf.
The referee was not great, I won’t lie to you. He let a lot of stuff go, and it felt like players were allowed to pull each other’s jerseys for some reason. Then again, the refs in MLS aren’t any better.
Chicago’s striker wore the #4 kit, which was interesting. Speaking of him, Alejandro Mentasti is a big, big man. He’d absolutely kill me if he wanted to.
AR Smith was quality once again tonight. He held things together in midfield, and he did what was asked of him throughout the contest. I’m not sure what his personal plans are, but it’s clear he could make the jump up to a higher division if he wanted to.
Florian Ouaddour is a very tidy left-back. He’s really good on the ball, which makes him an asset when the team builds out from the back. Imagine a pro clubs left back, but technical.
Man of the match – Jack Kramer
I didn’t even realize he was on the pitch.
Jack Kramer was forced to settle for a cameo off the bench, but he made the absolute most of the minutes he got. Coming on for an injured player right before a corner, the defender immediately made an impact on proceedings by heading home the set-piece.
It was an insane moment, and the celebrations that followed were more than fitting as he sprinted over to the sidelines to be with his teammates and staff.
His job wasn’t finished, though. Kramer then helped hold down the backline, keeping the scores as they were in order to secure all three points.
He may be number 2 on the field, but he was number 1 in the hearts of all House fans on this night.
It was still raining so I didn’t keep everyone around for too long.
Chicago House head coach Matt Poland – “These games are weird with the weather and everything. The guys handled the adversity well. Adria are a tough team, they have a lot of talent, so I’m very proud of our guys for being disciplined and winning the second half.”
“I gotta give it to my assistants for pushing me to make the sub, and yeah it was just as we drew it up. It’s awesome for Kramer to have made an impact and change the game like that. I’m happy for him.”
Chicago House defender Jack Kramer – “Couldn’t even describe that moment man. I was free on the corner, and sometimes you get lucky, being at the right place at the right time.”
“Matt always tells us to stay disciplined, so you gotta finish the game out even though you’re so excited. It feels good to get the three points, we needed it.”