Maidstone Market, the nine-time champion, not unsurprisingly headed into the men’s 7-on-7 soccer league playoffs at East Hampton’s Herrick Park yesterday having clinched the top seed, though going into the final night of regular-season play, on Monday, there was a chance that three teams — Maidstone, Bateman Painting, and Tortorella Pools — might wind up in a three-way tie for first place, with 18 points each.
“It’s been very competitive this season — the top four have been beating each other,” said Leslie Czeladko, of Tortorella, who also oversees the league’s Web site.
On Monday, Maidstone defeated Bateman Painting 3-1. Gehider Garcia, the league’s leading scorer, had two of the Market’s goals, and Wilson Betancur had one, all coming in the first half. Esteban Uchupaille scored for Bateman, also in the first frame. Espo’s was to have played Tortorella in the evening’s opener, but forfeited. Tuxpan, which narrowly missed making the playoffs, defeated 75 Main 4-2 in the nightcap.
The 7-on-7 outdoor final is to be played at Herrick Monday at 6:30 p.m. In addition, the finals of 7-on-7 futsal leagues overseen by Raymond Naula at the Sportime arena in Amagansett are to be played Saturday night, with the women’s final set for 8, the 38-plus men’s final at 9, and the men’s open final at 10.
In other recent 7-on-7 outdoor games, Maidstone Market crushed Tortorella Pools 5-1, knocking Tortorella out of first place, but was upset 1-0 by 75 Main, a game in which the Restaurateurs’ Geovanni Robles, a very quick forward, was the sole player to score.
Robles’s all-important goal came midway through the first half. Taking possession at midfield, he dashed forward, and after vaulting over Hector Marles’s attempted slide tackle, went one-on-one with Maidstone’s goalie, Alex Meza, beating him to the lower left corner of the cage from about 15 yards out.
The Market was the more aggressive team in the first half, though 75 Main, which counter-attacked whenever it could, had the better chances. Cesar Galea narrowly missed making it 2-0 when his 30-yard high, rocketed shot soon after Robles’s goal bounced directly down from the underside of the crossbar.
Still, it didn’t seem as if that one-goal lead would hold up — Maidstone’s forwards, Antonio Padilla, Gehider Garcia, and John Romero among them, are always formidable — but 75 Main’s defense was sufficiently tenacious in the second half to assure a shutout.
The win enabled 75 Main to take over second place and ousted F.C. Tuxpan, which had defeated Tortorella 2-1 earlier that night (Nov. 21), from playoff contention.
Romero had three goals and Padilla three assists in Maidstone’s blowout of Tortorella on the 19th. Tortorella played most of the game a man-down because of David Rodriguez’s ankle injury. Still, Tortorella managed to keep the Market off the scoreboard in the first half.
The second half was a different story. Romero got it going, one-touching a chest-high ball past Tortorella’s goalie, Craig Caiazca, that Padilla had fired goalward from 10 yards out. Four more goals were to follow — two more by Romero and one each by Wilson Betancur and Gehider Garcia. A breakaway by Steven Orrego accounted for Tortorella’s scoring.
In other action that night, 75 Main and Bateman played to a 1-1 tie. Following a scoreless first half, Uchupaille got Bateman on the scoreboard, assisted by Julian Munoz. But Geovanni Robles, assisted by Tony Shoshi, salvaged the tie.
Tuxpan, which shut out Espo’s 4-0 in the nightcap with Nettie Sanchez netting two goals and with Alberto Larios and Juan Velasquez scoring the others, kept itself in playoff contention with its aforementioned 2-1 win over Tortorella on the 21st, though its dreams were to vanish two hours later with 75 Main’s 1-0 upset of Maidstone Market.
Last night’s semifinals were rematches of Monday night’s games, with Bateman Painting, the fourth seed, versus Maidstone, and with Tortorella vs. 75 Main. The final, as aforesaid, is to be played Monday at 6:30 p.m.