Tortorella Pools as of Oct. 24 — no games were played Oct. 31 because of hurricane outages — led the East Hampton Wednesday evening 7-on-7 men’s soccer league going into this week’s matchups.
Maidstone Market, which won its ninth straight playoff championship in August by defeating Tortorella 3-1 in the final, came into the week in second place, with a 4-2 record. Tortorella was 5-0-1.
In a rematch of the 2012 spring final on Sept. 26, Tortorella handed the Market a 3-1 defeat. In his Web site report of that game, Leslie Czeladko said Maidstone had outplayed his team in the first half, although it was Tortorella that scored first, the result of a penalty kick awarded after Alex Meza, Maidstone’s keeper, had fouled Oscar Reinoso in the box. Meza drew a yellow card from the referee, Alex Ramirez, on the play, and was sent to the sidelines for two minutes, leaving his replacement, Carlos Torres, to defend against the penalty kick, which was taken by Eddie Lopez. Lopez buried the shot, treating his team, which had largely been on the defensive in the early going, to a 1-0 lead.
Cesar Correa tied it at 1-1 for Maidstone before the half was over, converting a cross from Antonio Padilla, who had taken the ball to the endline. Tortorella’s goalie, Craig Caiazca, “made several great saves in the first half,” according to Czeladko, and that was the sole goal that he was to allow that night.
It was Tortorella that did the attacking in the second frame. Juan Olvera set up his team’s second goal, racing with the ball down a sideline before sending a high cross toward the far post. Daniel Salazar couldn’t quite catch up with it, but Rodolfo Marin, a defender who had been trailing the play, did for a 2-1 Tortorella lead.
Meza, who plays aggressively, soon after found himself out of position as he and Salazar leapt for a high-bounding ball that eluded both of them and wound up on the feet of Marin. Marin fed Salazar, who, after beating two defenders, capped the scoring as he drilled a shot into Maidstone’s nets.
Adding insult to injury, the Market was edged 1-0 by F.C. Tuxpan, the league’s fifth-place team, on Oct. 24. It was do-or-die for Tuxpan, whose first win it was.
Czeladko said, “It looked as if the match would end in a draw, but Tuxpan’s Luis Rivera scored on a counter attack that ended with the ball making its way from Rivera to Alberto Larios back to Rivera, whose chip shot beat the onrushing Alex Meza from about three yards out.”
Maidstone wound up playing a man down when Cesar Correa was ejected by Ramirez following a foul in Tuxpan’s box and a profane protest.
Tortorella also lost that night, by a score of 1-0 to Bateman Painting, the fourth-place team.
Czeladko said: “From the start, both sides were attacking well, but Tortorella had a hard time moving the ball by Bateman’s defenders.”
“Bateman had a chance to score when Jon Lizano stole the ball from Cristian Munoz, but Munoz shot over the crossbar from about 10 yards out.”
“Bateman had another chance when it was awarded a direct kick near the box. Juan Zuluaga, facing a ‘wall’ of defenders, kicked wide of them to the right, the ball caroming to the left off a Tortorella defender, David Rodriguez. Caiazca, Tortorella’s keeper, punched the ball back to the right where a defender cleared it — a pinball skirmish that ruined a great chance for Bateman.”
“It was looking as if the match would end up in a draw, but toward the end of regulation, Bateman’s Julian Munoz got the ball near midfield, raced with it into the goalie box and, from five yards out, fired a shot that beat Caiazca into the far corner.”
Going into this week, there were 12 games left to play — last night, Monday, and Nov. 19 and 21 — before the playoff semifinals on Nov. 26 and the championship game on Nov. 28.
In the “Golden Boot” competition, Maidstone’s Gehider Garcia led as of earlier this week with 6 goals and 1 assist. Tortorella’s Eddie Lopez was second, with 4 goals and 2 assists. Cesar Galea of 75 Main, Mario Olaya of Maidstone, and Oscar Reinoso of Tortorella, each had 3 goals. Maidstone’s Andy Gonzales had 2.