By: Luke Drase
The Niles North Vikings soccer team held on to defeat the Schaumburg Saxons 1-0 in a tightly contested match in Skokie, Illinois on Monday night.
The lone goal of the game for the Vikings came early in the second half thanks to the combination of Amcy Odicho and Mohammed Majeed.
Odicho sent a perfectly weighted pass through the middle of the Saxons defense that Majeed cooly placed in the bottom right corner of the net.
After the game, Niles North head coach Filip Cejovic said: “We worked a lot this summer and preseason on finishing. I feel like that’s another one of those things that’s been an achilles heel for us. We had about three other chances that were easier to score than miss, but the main thing is that the finish on that particular play was excellent.”
However, the celebration was cut short as the Vikings went down to 10-men with 27 minutes left in the game when Shilmon Shilmon was given a red card for what was said to be an intentional foul.
After a brief argument between Cejovic and the referee, the contest eventually continued.
“I think the referee made a mistake, he owned up to it, and that was it,” said Cejovic.
“We all make mistakes, he said there was an intentional foul when there really wasn’t. You know, things happen, it’s a fast paced game, both of the kids yellow cards we’re kind of phantom but it is what is.”
Despite being forced to play down a man, the Vikings back line remained strong and withstood the late pressure from Schaumburg to open up their season with a victory.
For a team still trying to find their identity in the early stages of the season, the mental toughness the Vikings showed in their opening day fixture was a far cry from previous seasons.
“We found a way to win. Thats the most important thing,” said Cejovic.
“In previous years we dominated teams and somehow, someway found a way not to win the game. This summer we really concentrated on hating to lose, playing with urgency and just somehow someway, finding a way to win, and I think that’s what we did today.”