Boys soccer: Oswego East gets shutout win in crosstown battle

Wolves top Oswego 2-0

Oswego’s David Castro (14) shoots the ball against Oswego East's Javier Ruiz (1) during a soccer match at Oswego East High School on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023.

OSWEGO – Practice makes perfect, and Aaron Godinez can prove it.

The Oswego East sophomore defender booted a high free kick from midfield near the end of the first half of Tuesday’s Southwest Prairie Conference game against Oswego.

Junior forward MJ Hoffman somehow found a way to win possession, settle and score it, and the Wolves went on to defeat their crosstown rivals 2-0.

“I just placed it in the middle by the penalty box, just like Coach had us practice,” Godinez said. “I just tried my best. I saw MJ going fast as he always is, and I know where he’s at and has a nice touch there, so I was happy he got the goal.

“It feels really good for my first year on varsity to have an assist against Oswego, especially in a big game.”

A similar long ball traveled mostly on the ground to set up the Wolves for their first goal about midway through the first half.

Dylan Drendel placed a perfect pass ahead of fellow junior Josh Lopez, who blasted it into the back of the net inside the far post with 22:17 left in the half for a 1-0 lead.

“I had a nice angle run, and it was just the perfect situation,” Lopez said. “I got myself outside where I could touch it and shoot it. That helped build our confidence and gave us momentum so we knew we could push through this.”

Oswego East (8-4-2, 5-2-0) has struggled on offense at times this fall, including being blanked five times. Against their rivals, their offense came alive.

“I thought we just did a good job in the middle, and we were more successful outside,” Lopez said. “Me and MJ were checking on the outside, and the center mids were strong, but the outside mids were weaker, and we kind of forced it on them by going outside wide.”

Oswego (12-5-1, 5-2-0) struggled playing against the Wolves style, getting beat twice on the long ball.

“We were trying to play our game, and when we play a team with long ball, long ball, long ball, it’s hard to keep possession on the field,” Panthers coach Gaspar Arias said. “We tried to be aware of those long balls and counter, and at times you are going to be surprised on those counters, and it happens.”

Lopez also scored in last year’s crosstown clash while Oswego East goalkeeper Javier Ruiz became the program’s all-time leader in shutouts (17), surpassing Nick Huerter.

“It feels like we own this town for soccer,” Ruiz said. “Two years in a row, it feels good. 3-0 last year, 2-0 this year. It feels pretty good.”

The Panthers may feel down, but they’re far from out and continue to play well despite the loss.

“We played well, but in the first half we didn’t look our best, and then obviously went down 2-0 and had to push and not worry about defense,” Oswego senior Mikey Kroll said. “We couldn’t really show our game in the second half. How we play the game didn’t really reflect on what we actually did in the game.”

Oswego East's Marlin Hoffman (22) shoots the ball for a goal against Oswego’s Angel Moreno (1) during a soccer match at Oswego East High School on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023.