ROSELLE PARK, NJ – The persevered offense of the Roselle Park boys’ soccer team rallied past Hillside in the second half, leading to a 4-1 victory over the Comets on Tuesday.
“Sometimes I need to remind the guys a little bit that we might have some skillful guys on the team, but you also have to outwork the other team too,” Roselle Park head coach Patrick Santo Pietro said. “I think in the second half we outworked them a little bit too.”
Roselle Park fell behind early in the first half when Alex Rodrigues scored on a 25-yard free-kick that left Roselle Park’s freshmen goalie Max Moya picture still as the ball glazed passed him into the back of the net.
Trailing by a goal, the Panthers answered right back with a notch of their own on a corner kick that ended up being tapped in, tying the score before the half.
The Panther’s senior playmaker Camilo Gamboa didn’t start the game due to missing practice the previous day, but once he entered, Gamboa made he presence known.
Early in the second half, Gamboa chipped a pass to Julian Victoria who gave Roselle Park a lead they didn’t relinquish.
“[Camilo] is a big part of our team,” Pietro said. “He is our main playmaker kind of guy on the midfield. He is the kind of guy that we always look to get the ball to his feet and he always seems available to get it.”
Senior midfielder Chris Guerrero took the spotlight for the rest of the game, scoring twice late in the game to give Roselle Park the 4-1 victory.
“Honestly, I was just having faith the whole game,” Guerrero said. “I didn’t score any goals until the end, but I was saying I’m going to score, I’m going to score and what happened is I scored to goals at the end. It made me so happy even did the front flip to celebrate.”
Despite the victory, Pietro admits the Panthers have a lot of work to do defensively if they want to remain competitive in a difficult county and conference.
“Our defense is our biggest issue,” Pietro said. “It’s the back that really we have to sort out and that’s what we kind of have to work on. Today we had a total of six or seven guys play in the back today. Having a little bit more speed helped us a lot in the second half too. It’s a working progress.”
Senior defensive back Christian Risso, who leads the unit, said the Panthers will take this game as a learning experience and add on to that.
“Its not the easiest thing in the world,” Risso said. “Once you communicate with everybody, and everybody knows what to do and what you expect from them it all comes together at the end.”
Roselle Park will host Roselle Catholic, a team it considers to be tougher and more competitive, on Thursday at 4 p.m.