Darby Dousing: Demons put out Flames in crosstown thriller


Patrick Sloan-Turner

Junior midfielder Jacob Huth runs on to celebrate with junior forward Marek Gonda, after Gonda collapsed in exhaustion upon the final whistle in DePaul’s 3-2 win over UIC Tuesday night.

It’s tough to keep composure and battle back after giving up an early goal, and even tougher to keep cool after giving one up just before halftime. Some teams panic.

When DePaul experienced both against UIC on Tuesday night, they fought back and secured a 3-2 victory.

“So many times [when you] go down 1-0, you can lose it,” DePaul coach Mark Plotkin said. “To go down twice and continue to come back and keep fighting, that’s the essence of DePaul soccer and who we are.”

After giving up the game’s first goal in the 22nd minute, DePaul kept a level head and responded almost imme


The Blue Demons controlled possession on the ensuing kickoff and slowly built-up play into UIC’s end. It was only a few minutes later that sophomore midfielder Cade Hagan swung momentum back.

Freshman winger Filipe Corral dribbles past UIC senior defender Pau Mateo in DePaul’s 3-2 win Tuesday night. (Patrick Sloan-Turner)

Just outside the box on the left side, Hagan moved the ball to his right foot and fired a screamer across the goal that curled around the keeper and dipped into the upper-right corner of the goal, tying the game 1-1.

Although DePaul was able to respond to the first goal, UIC controlled much of the first half. The Flames seemed to out-possess DePaul all period and out-shot the Demons 14-5. Shot number 14 of the half for UIC would find the back of the net to make it 2-1 in minute 45, landing a momentous blow to DePaul just before halftime. 

Only ten minutes into the second half, DePaul would respond again.

Freshman wing Felipe Corral secured the first goal of his collegiate career in minute 55. Corral, who’s proven himself as a spark for the Demon’s attack so far this season, was able to put back a rebound inside the box to tie it at 2-2 and re-ignite DePaul’s attack against the Flames.

‘I’m always attacking and attacking,” Corral said. “I saw that ball come out and knew I had to put it in the back of the net.” 

In a wild game that featured a 2-hour rain delay, and the ever-so-rare sprinkler delay, Corral used the extra time to psyche himself up.

“We were in that rain delay, and I just had a feeling. Today’s the day, I am going to get my first goal,” Corral said. “I think it opened the gates, I just have to keep scoring from here.”

About 20 minutes after Corral’s finish, DePaul finally took the lead.

The Demon offense was able to execute a quick developing sequence, sending sophomore midfielder Julian Saldana free into the box off a short through-ball from junior forward Marek Gonda. Saldana was able to beat the UIC keeper with his left foot and give DePaul the 3-2 edge in minute 77.

Freshman winger Filipe Corral (24) rushes to the ball on an open net to tally his first collegiate goal in DePaul’s 3-2 victory over UIC Tuesday night. (Patrick Sloan-Turner)

In two-games against ranked teams, DePaul has lost a late lead to finish with a draw. In matchups with Notre Dame on Sept. 6 and again on Saturday against Butler, DePaul couldn’t hang onto a 1-0 lead, and let wins slip away in the final ten minutes.

On Tuesday night, the Demons finally finished a tight game. Two big saves from Ghandi and some solid defensive play in the final minutes proved to be enough.

“We were five minutes away from beating Notre Dame, five minutes away from beating Butler, so I’m proud of our guys closing it out tonight,” Plotkin said.

The improvement comes at a good time, as DePaul (3-1-3) will soon enter conference play against Providence (2-2-3) on Oct. 1 after playing host to Penn (4-1-1) this Sunday.

The Demons will surely need to prove they know how to finish games during the grind of Big East play. Plotkin sees the improvement from the way they handled Notre Dame and Butler to the way they ousted UIC as a barometer for the team’s development.

 “It’s a mark of us getting better each game,” Plotkin said.