When the Maidstone Market on Thanksgiving eve won the Wednesday evening 7-on-7 men’s soccer fall title, defeating Tortorella Pools 3-1, Leslie Czeladko said, “We’ll get them next spring.”
Well, spring has come and gone, and the Market, a powerful team overseen by John Romero, once again stands alone atop the league, at 8-0, trailed by Tortorella, at 5-3, Hamptons Proprietor, at 4-4, Bateman Painting, at 3-5, and Tuxpan and Espo, each at 2-6.
But, while the Market is having an easy time of it here, Romero said his squad will have a much tougher time in a 20-team Islandwide 11-on-a-side league in Brentwood whose games are played Sundays. “It will be very difficult for us to make the playoffs,” the final eight, said Romero, whose team took a record of seven wins, no losses, and one tie into this week’s action.
“Some of the guys on some of the teams are paid $250 a game,” he said. “I don’t pay my players — I don’t have the money.”
The augmented Maidstone roster playing in Brentwood includes Gehider Garcia, Diego Marles, Luis Correa, Alex Meza (the goalie), John Romero Jr., Ernesto Valverde, Eddie Lopez, Antonio Padilla, Carlos Torres, Julian Munoz, Mark Hogg, and Matt Ramirez. The senior Romero had tried to persuade Gary Easlick, of Tortorella, to play too, “but he’s too busy.”
“We’re doing pretty good, we’re hoping to make the playoffs, but it will be very hard. There are professionals in that league from South America and Central America.”
Asked Monday how his team had fared in the Brentwood league the day before, John Romero said, “We won 7-2. It was a good game. They were a really, really good team, but they only had 10 guys.”
Among those scoring goals for the victors were Gehider Garcia, with three, and John Romero Jr. and Correa, with one each.
In East Hampton this week, the Market, which has during its five-or-so-year career won 88 games, lost nine, and tied 10, defeated Tuxpan 3-1 thanks to three goals by Gehider Garcia, the league’s high scorer.
Czeladko said the first half wound up scoreless. Though, in the early going of the second, after having been awarded a direct kick, Romero alertly found Garcia unmarked at the edge of the box and passed the ball to him before Tuxpan’s defenders took up their positions. Garcia fired a low shot into Tuxpan’s nets, putting his team up 1-0.
Before the game had ended the league’s high scorer (11 goals) added two more. The second followed a goal kick taken by Tuxpan’s goalie, Antonio Chavez, that Garcia chested inside the midfield line and, after dribbling forward, chipped over the head of Chavez, who had come out too far. Chavez could only watch helplessly as the ball sailed into the nets just under the crossbar.
Garcia made it 3-0 when he stole the ball from Uchupie Esteban, dribbled into the center of the box, and from about 13 yards out fired a shoulder-high shot that beat Chavez. Alberto Larios scored Tuxpan’s lone goal.
In the night’s other games, Hamptons Proprietor defeated Bateman Painting 4-2, and Tortorella Pools shut out Espo 4-0.
Hamptons Proprietor enjoyed a 6-to-5 advantage in the evening’s opener, but, luckily, Bateman’s exceptional goalie, Manuel (Alas) Bolanos, the game’s consensus M.V.P., was not the player who was missing.
Cesar Galea put Hamptons Proprietor up 2-0 early on, his goals capping successful counter plays, and that was the score when the half ended.
Juan Zuluaga and Bolanos teamed up to stop H.P.’s Winston Reid early in the second half as Zuluaga seemingly came out of nowhere to make a sliding kick save of Reid’s header, which was rolling toward the goal line after Reid and Bolanos, who had come out, collided.
A Galea header, converting a cross from Cesar Correa, and a goal by Correa himself made it 4-0 H.P., but Hogg, assisted by Jonathan Lizano, and a header by Zuluaga, who converted a chip from Carlos Torres, put a better face on things for the outmanned Bateman team, which would have been routed had it not been for Bolanos’s frequent dazzling saves, several of them in one-on-one confrontations.
Easlick scored two goals, and Duvan Castro and Eddie Lopez scored one apiece as Tortorella shut out Espo 4-0 in the night’s finale.
According to Czeladko, the league spokesman, “Tortorella was in total control in the second half, keeping the ball in Espo’s half of the field most of the time. Tortorella’s defense was too much for Marco and Cesar Bautista. Anytime Espo attacked, Tortorella would cut them down.”
Tortorella’s goalie, Dario Garcia, was called on to make only one save. Mike Semkus made five saves for Espo, but allowed the aforementioned four goals.
Yesterday, Tortorella and Maidstone were to have met in the first game, at 6:30, to be followed by Hamptons Proprietor and Espo, and Tuxpan and Bateman Painting.
In their first meeting, on May 25, Maidstone Market defeated Tortorella 3-1.
On Wednesday, it will be Tuxpan versus Hamptons Proprietor, Bateman versus Tortorella, and Maidstone versus Espo.
The playoffs are to begin July 13 with Maidstone paired with the fourth-place team, to be followed by the second and third-place teams. The final is scheduled for July 20 at 6:30 p.m.