NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — The West Essex boys soccer team dropped a tough 3-0 loss to an undefeated powerhouse in Montclair on Monday night, falling to 1-3-1 on the young season.
“They’re a good team,” said West Essex head coach Rob Grosso. “Montclair has a lot of depth, they’re skilled, they’re tactically a better team.”
Montclair came out strong, controlling the midfield and generating a number of opportunities. A faster Mountee squad was able to draw first blood just eight minutes into the contest off the foot of Reese Bordick.
“The first half, they had two or three chances and they put one away,” said Grosso. “That’s what good teams do they capitalize on the opportunities that come up.”
West Essex attempted to mount a comeback in the second half with solid chances early on. Alex Antonian and Nico Rosmilia each generated solid pressure and shots for the Knights’ offense, but were unable to notch the game back up.
“We had a couple chances and it’s about capitalizing,” said Grosso. “Good teams find ways to convert those and all of a sudden you convert two or three opportunities it’s a different game.”
Montclair was able to tack on two more second-half goals to pull away. Goals from Salvador Pilego and Elijah Davisson in the 51st and 57th minutes, respectively, ended any chance of a Knights comeback.
“The second half, we give up that second goal and we’re chasing even more,” said Grosso. “Technically Montclair was a little bit better, they were a little sharper on the ball, they played a good game.”
West Essex goaltender Ryan Leech had an impressive performance despite allowing three goals. The junior managed to notch 10 saves in the contest including a number of late game opportunities to keep his team in the contest.
“He made a lot of saves—he prevented four or five goals in the second half especially, he played well,” said Grosso.
For West Essex, the loss drops the squad to 1-3-1 on the season, as the Knights were defeated in two of their last three games. The squad has set a goal to get back to .500 by week’s end with games against Wayne Valley and Bergen Charter coming up.
“We’ve got to be a little quicker with the ball, we’ve got to make better runs offensively to create better chances and we have to be more disciplined,” said Grosso.