Everything is All Right in Aguilar's World
Sept. 3, 2010
CHICAGO - Left to his own devices, Antonio Aguilar made the right choice.
You see, Aguilar is left-footed, and his DePaul teammates love to razz him in practice about his nearly non-existent kick from the right side.
But in the 87th minute Friday night, Aguilar scored a goal with his right foot that sent the Blue Demons onto a 1-1, double-overtime tie with Western Illinois at Illinois-Chicago.
"My right foot is pretty horrible," Aguilar said with a smile. "I don't use it much. The guys always give me a hard time about it."
There was nothing soft about Willy Lara's laser-beam assist off a corner kick that was knee-high off the ground.
"It came so fast to me, the impact was already there," Aguilar said about his first goal of the season. "The ball was coming and I couldn't hit it with my left foot.
"It was either use my right foot, or the ball goes through."
Aguilar's late score from nine yards out neutralized Cosimo Patano's goal in the 29th minute off a pass from Darryl Odom.
"I was kind of surprised when it went in," Aguilar said. "It was an awesome feeling, and I just started running until Willy tackled me.
"It was time to get a little nervous at the end. We were pressing up trying to get the tying score."
Aguilar had been sitting out for eight months healing from an injury, and his first extended time back on the field came in Wednesday's 2-1 season-opening loss at Green Bay.
"There's no pain---I'm just out of shape a little," Aguilar said.
Lara dwelled on the significance of going blow-for-blow with a Western Illinois team that qualified for the NCAA tournament last year.
"It's almost indescribable what this does for our team," Lara said. "I don't remember many times last year when we came back to tie or win a game.
"This is very motivating for a young team like ours."
Indeed, freshmen Ray De Leon, Austin Toth and Art Garza started against the Fighting Leathernecks while first-year players David Leverentz, Mauricio Velasco, Stephen Korosis and Brian Schultz contributed off the bench.
"With so many freshmen, we're still trying to learn how to play together," Lara said. "It's a great group of guys, and by the end of the season we're going to be a lot more dynamic."
That's the exact sentiment of DePaul coach Craig Blazer.
"We had six freshmen on the field at one point in the game," Blazer said. "Antonio's goal gave us that confidence that we would be able to achieve a very positive result.
"This is like on-the-job training, and the success has everyone looking forward to our game on Sunday against Florida International."
This was Aguilar's first right-footed collegiate goal, and he scored twice with his right foot in four years at Mt. Carmel before coming to DePaul.
Any chance he might start developing a secret weapon?
"No, I don't think so," Aguilar said with a laugh. "I'm still going to use my left foot whenever I can."
Aguilar will look to pick up right where he left off at noon on Sunday when the Blue Demons welcome the Golden Panthers to Wish Field.
NOTES: Aguilar led DePaul (0-1-1) with three shots, and had the team's only shot on goal... Matt Leinauer, Alex Mangan and De Leon each had two shots... Western Illinois (1-0-1) outshot the Blue Demons 11-10 and had seven shots on goal... DePaul goalkeeper Joe Ferrari came up with six saves on the night... Western Illinois was whistled for 15 fouls while DePaul committed only six... Ferrari, John Jandl, Andre Gutierrez Leinauer and Toth played the entire 110 minutes... Lara was on the field for 105 minutes and De Leon 104... both the men's and women's soccer teams played to 1-1, double-overtime ties on Friday... Aguilar scored a late goal last season against Marquette to force extra periods and hit the game-winner in the second overtime.