DeKALB - The DeKalb County United women’s under-23 team gave up four goals in a 13-minute stretch, falling to the Chicago Mustangs 5-2 Saturday in a friendly before heading off to an invitational championship tournament in Iowa next week to conclude its season.
“It was a hot day, summer friendly, and that was our mentality,” United coach Dan Carl said. “When we chose to wake up and played to level we can play we competed with them. I think if we erase those 10-15 minutes and come with the right mentality out of the gate, it’s a different game.”
The Mustangs came out of the gate at the NIU soccer field and scored in the 7th minute. Julia Lentz made a diving save in the net, but Emma Chudik put back the rebound for the first goal of the game.
Then came the run for the Mustangs between the 18th and 31st minutes in which they scored four goals to put the game out of reach. Nina Nicosia scored the first three of the stretch, then Kelly Flores tacked on the fifth goal.
“We weren’t really on the same page,” Untied striker and DeKalb grad McKenna Wallin said. “We weren’t connecting defense to the middle. We struggled getting up top and getting those passes flowing like we normally do.”
The Mustangs nearly made it six goals with a fourth by Nicosia, but Lentz was able to punch the shot way.
The United scored twice in the second half, including in the 46th minute on a penalty kick by Alexi Bolger. In the 82nd minute, Megan Majewski knocked home the second United goal with a rocket of the Chicago goalies’ hands.
“Obviously I think it was a bit of a rough start for us,” said Jenna Lewey, a Sycamore grad who plays college ball at NIU. “We’ve had a good season up until this point and I think we let that get in our heads a little bit today. They came out ready to play and I don’t think we did.”
The United finished 7-0 in their league this year, while the Mustangs went 7-0 in theirs.
Wallin said the team definitely improved in the final 45 minutes.
“It was definitely slow to start,” Wallin said. “We picked it up in the second half but we just were a little low energy. The heat was definitely a factor. We improved in the second half, found it within us to dig deep and play better.”