AURORA — They played an attractive style that featured all kinds of one-touch passing and fancy footwork.
And here's the scary part: They are still missing a handful of players because of injuries.
Such is life for the Greenmen these days. It doesn't matter who wears shin guards and spikes on game nights.
The Aurora boys soccer team is still a handful for the opposition.
The host Greenmen made a stellar 2018 Suburban League American Conference debut after posting a convincing 5-0 victory over Tallmadge Tuesday at Veterans Stadium.
Aurora, which reached the Division II state semifinals last fall, dominated the action with its stellar passing game and pinpoint shooting.
The Greenmen (3-1) controlled possession much of the way and had the Blue Devils (2-2, 0-1), a district finalist a year ago, on their heels throughout the evening.
Amazingly enough, Aurora is still a bit undermanned.
The Greenmen had six players out of action during their first loss of the season to Chagrin Falls (6-1) Saturday.
On Tuesday, two of those key players returned. But Aurora is still short-handed even though other players have made the most of their opportunities.
"I'm proud of the way we moved the ball," Greenmen head coach Jason Bibza said. "We found support passes and found feet before going over top and going through."
Aurora had a knack for playing the ball to open spaces. By the time those passes reached that area, a Greenmen player's foot quickly touched the ball.
However, Aurora, which invaded Tallmadge's territory relentlessly, led just 1-0 on a goal by Cooper Bizjak.
"I felt like there was a sense of urgency because Tallmadge is still a good enough team," Bibza said. "They [the Blue Devils] had a couple of chances in the first half.
"A tie in a league game is a killer. A tie makes it really hard to win the league. We didn't finish our chances inside the box."
They did once action resumed in the second half.
Bizjak, who is expected to get his share of goals this season, found the net two more times in a span of nine minutes. Alex Bibza had assists on Bizjak's first two goals.
Both Bizjak, who has recovered from an ankle injury, and the younger Bibza did not play against the Tigers Saturday. Their return to the pitch made a huge difference.
"I can't say enough about Cooper," Coach Bibza said. "With him on the field, it's a different game. He's a force. He's our best player."
Trevor Lazor and Sean O'Malley put the finishing touches on the win with goals later in the half. Lazor also had an assist. The Greenmen had a 12-4 advantage in shots on goal.
Aurora goalkeeper Ethan Hoff finished with five saves. Blue Devils' goalies Sam Weyandt and Jamysen Montgomery combined to stop 10 shots.
Besides not having all of its horses in the stable, the Greenmen had to contend with torturous hot weather. Temperatures were in the 90s throughout the day and any hint of a breeze was nonexistent throughout the 80-minute contest.
Since Aurora was lacking some of its top guns, some varsity players had to compete in the junior varsity game. The Greenmen won that contest by a 3-2 margin.
"We have 30 kids in the entire program and several players out," Coach Bibza said. "The kids just rolled with it and helped the team. They didn't complain. They just did whatever was asked. It's really refreshing to work with these kids."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.