The Riverside-Brookfield boys soccer team didn’t skip a beat without leading scorer Ruben Chavez in the lineup during a 3-0 win over Elmwood Park last week.

Chavez, who has scored 10 goals this season, had to sit out of the game against the Tigers due to a red card he received in the previous match – a 1-1 tie with Brother Rice.

“It’s unfortunate what happened with Ruben because [opposing players] at times are talking bad language and playing physical against him,” RB coach Danny Makaric said. “He reacted and pushed back against Brother Rice. I explained to him he has to know better and not get baited into a confrontation.”

Eddie Marentes picked up the scoring slack by netting a pair of goals. Thomas Lary added the other goal assisted by Santiago Beltran in the middle of the first half.

“We knew sooner or later we could score some goals but we had to be patient,” Makaric said. “It’s always good when you get a conference win.”

On Thursday, Timothy Christian surprised RB with a 1-0 win at Shuey Stadium. The Bulldogs dominated play with over 75 minutes of possession and peppered the Trojans’ goalkeeper with over 25 shots on goal. Chavez, Beltran, Marentes and Lary collectively missed several prime scoring opportunities. The Trojans scored their goal on a defensive miscommunication by the Bulldogs. In fact, RB senior keeper Max Ohle was rarely tested, facing five shots on goal for the game.

“It was frustrating because we missed so many scoring chances,” Makaric said. “Sometimes you just have games like this but we have to bounce back.”

Riverside-Brookfield (6-6-1, 2-1 Metro Suburban Conference) takes on Fenton and Illiana Christian (Thursday at RB) in a couple of critical conference clashes this week.

“So far, everything has gone to plan except for the loss against Timothy [Christian],” Makaric noted. “We play a lot of bigger schools at tournaments to start of the year so we lost a few games. The key for us is to stay healthy.”

Jon Kingzette, Quentin Dreilich, Jake Fieseler, Chavez, Beltran, Marentes, Lary, Ohle and the rest of the Bulldogs are focused on a strong finish to close out the regular season.

With postseason seedings on the horizon, Makaric hopes the Bulldogs get a stronger seed this year based on their strength of schedule.

“We could schedule easier opponents and get more wins,” Makaric said, “but I think it’s important we play tough opponents and develop our team.”