By virtue of a scoreless tie with Tortorella Pools in a Wednesday evening 7-on-7 men’s soccer game played at East Hampton’s Herrick Park on July 6, Bateman Painting drew undefeated Maidstone Market as its opponent in the first of last night’s two semifinals.
Tortorella, which finished the regular season with five wins, four losses, and one tie — the one mentioned above — was to have played Hamptons Proprietor in the other semifinal matchup. Hamptons Proprietor finished in second place, at 6-4, because of its convincing 7-2 win over Tuxpan on the 6th.
Cesar Galea, who as of earlier this week was number-two on the “golden boot” list, with 13 goals, scored three in the game with Tuxpan and had one assist.
By halftime Galea had scored twice, the first time on a flick of the foot that redirected a chest-high pass from Cesar Correa over the outstretched hands of Tuxpan’s goalie, Antonio Chavez, and the second on a seven-yard penalty kick that beat Chavez to the lower right side of the nets.
Correa scored twice in the first half too, both times from about 20 yards out, the first on a deflection off a defender and the second on a high hard one that zipped by the astonished Chavez into the upper right corner of Tuxpan’s goal.
Jonathan Pineda’s score early in the second half, which upped Hamptons Proprietor’s margin to 5-1, brought about a goalie change, Enrique Pichardo replacing Chavez.
The easy win gave Hamptons Proprietor, whose roster includes, besides Galea and Correa, Alfredo Negrete (in the goal), Jonathan Pineda, Martin Zuniga, Walter Arias, Fabian Arias, Olger Araya, Albeiro Betancur, Joe Fromm, and Donald Nunez, momentum going into the playoffs.
Tortorella took a hit in the aforementioned scoreless tie with Bateman when Luis Vas, one of its chief attackers, was red-carded by the referee, Alex Ramirez, for having come from the sidelines onto the field without permission.
In the night’s third game, Maidstone, behind Gehider Garcia’s five goals, ran Espo through the meat grinder, 8-0. Andy Gonzales, Christian Lopez, and Ernesto Valverde (who had two assists) also scored for the Market. Alex Meza, the league leader’s goalie, was called upon to make only three saves. His opposite number, Chris Bottari, subbing in that night, faced 15 shots on goal, and would have had to face another, according to Leslie Czeladko’s Web account, had the referee seen an Espo defender punch out of bounds a 40-yard pass from Meza into the box.
It appeared going into yesterday’s semifinals that Tortorella, given the two close games it had played with Maidstone Market in the regular season, might get a third shot in this Wednesday’s championship game.
In their last meeting, on June 29, the Market edged Tortorella 2-1.
Czeladko, who is Tortorella’s player-manager, said his team scored first in that game “when Christian Munoz, a defender, moved up the field before crossing the ball to the far side of the goalie box where Steven Orrego headed it in.”
Maidstone came right back, however, as Luis Correa’s shot toward the center of the cage was deflected off the back of one of Tortorella’s defenders, Rodolfo Marin. Minutes later, Gehider Garcia blasted a 10-yard shot past Tortorella’s keeper, Dario Garcia. That goal proved to be the game-winner.
Tortorella had a great chance to tie the score in the second half after one of its forwards was taken down by Luis Barrera inside the penalty box. Orrego took the penalty kick, from seven yards out, but Meza, guessing correctly, easily parried the ground-hugging shot Orrego directed toward the left corner.
Maidstone Market, moreover, remained undefeated as of this week in an 11-on-a-side semipro league whose games are played Sundays in Brentwood. Gehider Garcia and Ernesto Valverde reportedly scored Maidstone’s goals in Sunday’s 2-1 win.
Two weeks remain until the playoffs. John Romero, Maidstone’s manager, said a couple of weeks ago that, given the fact the league’s players included professionals from South America and Central America, it would be hard for his team to make the final group.