CHATHAM, NJ - His Chatham teammates encouraged Miles Robertson to have his say in the post-game huddle, but it was something he was reluctant to do.
The shy Chatham sophomore already had done all his talking on the field, coming off the bench to set up the first goal by Nick Suter in the 58th minute and then drawing the foul that led to Marlon Kripzak's clinching penalty kick with 2:46 left in the game.
Robertson's playmaking and goals by Suter and Kripzak highlighted undefeated Chatham's third straight victory to start the season, a 2-0 decision over Morris Knolls on Thursday at Cougar Field.
"He's always been a very technically gifted player and we're starting to find the right spots for him," Chatham coach Mark Maka said. "He's a player with really good feet and he gains possession for us. Having him work with guys like Nick Kaisand and Aedan Joel cause problems for the opposing defense. Do I step to the guy who is technical or do I cover the guy who is super fast? That's the problem he causes for the opposition."
That's exactly what happened when Robertson set up Suter's first career varsity goal (see the video below). Robertson received a pass from Nick DiMaggio, avoided the slide tackle of a defender and sent the ball left to Suter in the box. Suter took a touch before finishing his left-footed shot inside the near post from 12 yards.
Nick Suter talks about his first career varsity goal and Robertson's play
With Chatham still clinging to a 1-0 lead, Robertson dribbled into the penalty area and drew the foul. Kripzak converted (see the video below) the penalty kick to clinch it.
The Cougars had scored seven goals and allowed six in winning games against Morris Catholic and Morristown. Coach Maka made defense a priority this week and the back line of Patrick Conte, Cole Bixby, Ian Kagan and Kyle Sim ably protected goalie Julian de Keyzer in the shutout.
"We spent a lot of time this week looking at our defensive shape," Maka said. "The game of soccer is a physically demanding game. In high school, they ask you to play a lot of games in a short span and you don't get a lot of time to train. Having the Jewish holiday on Monday gave us a little bit of break and time to work on our defense."
Chatham plays at Randolph on Saturday.