The Football Club Gets Back on Track

Danny Bedoya was applauded on exiting the game
Try as he might, Port Jefferson Fusion’s 6-foot-5-inch goalie, Matt Gavin, could not catch up with a shot by Xavi Piedra Martel (6) that treated the East Hampton Football Club to a 1-0 lead midway through the first quarter of Sunday’s Division 1 game at the Ross School. Jack Graves Photos

The East Hampton Football Club remained in second place, behind Glen Cove Avellino, in Flight A of the Long Island Soccer Football League’s top division Sunday by easily defeating the Port Jefferson Fusion 2-0 at the Ross School.

The week before, however, the locals, who are coached by John Romero, Corey DeRosa, and Martin Gutierrez, lost 3-0 in an away match with New York Polet, the top team in Flight B.

“We didn’t have anybody,” Romero said by way of explaining the loss. De- Rosa has said in the past that sometimes East Hampton doesn’t travel well because of the demands of work.

While he may not have had everybody on Sunday — some forwards, in particular, were missing — Romero had more than enough to best Port Jeff’s team, whose record going in was 4-7. East Hampton’s was 8-3.

With the defense anchored by Romero’s son, Mathew, and Julian Barahona, whose similarly tall and agile brother, Carlos, tended the goal, East Hampton kept the pressure on throughout with its ever-attacking, short-passing game. The visitors’ 6-foot-5-inch goalie, Matt Gavin, however, was hard to beat, leaping and diving in parrying shots. 

Gavin was called upon to make a nice save of a shot by Gehider Garcia 14 minutes into the fray, but not long after, in the 23rd minute, Xavi Piedra Martel alertly netted the rebound of a shot by Julian Barahona that had followed a free kick taken from about 30 yards out on the left side of the field. Gavin dived flat out to his right but could not catch up with the ball, which landed in the left corner of the cage.

Six minutes later, Tomas Pulgarin, the stocky center midfielder, came close to scoring, as did Mario Olaya, a forward, soon after. The first half ended with East Hampton up 1-0, though it was clear the only hope the visitors had of scoring that day would result from a major home team blunder. Carlos Barahona barely touched the ball in the opening 40 minutes.

Mathew Romero, Pulgarin, Julian Barahona, and Danny Bedoya, in particular, continued to play hard, parrying any attempts by the visitors to advance the ball into scoring range. Julian Barahona just missed making it 2-0 four minutes into the second half, his ground-hugging shot from about 12 yards out passing just wide of the left post.

With about 10 minutes left to play, Garcia clinched it, gathering in Pulgarin’s blocked shot before pulling the trigger from about 10 yards out. 

In the final minutes, Bedoya and Garcia drew applause as they were taken out of the game. Carlos Barahona was called upon to make his first serious save off a headed corner kick with about seven minutes left. 

Leonel Uchupaille, who had come into the game with about 11 minutes gone in the second period, came up empty with five minutes to go as his ground-hugger went just wide of the left post.

Since the fall-spring season resumed in March, East Hampton is 2-1, with six more games to play before the playoffs begin on June 11. The team’s next home game is to be on April 23 with Forest Park. 

But presumably the players are looking forward even more to a May 14 match at Flushing High School with Glen Cove, which pinned a 1-0 defeat on the locals just before the winter break. That win enabled the Nassau team to take a 2-point lead over East Hampton. Points-wise, they are the top two teams among the 10 competing in the L.I.S.F.L.’s Division 1.

Earlier on Sunday, East Hampton’s D-1 Reserves and the visitors’ B team tied at 2-2.

“We were down 2-0 until the last 15 minutes,” East Hampton’s goalie, Quique Araya, said as he walked off the field, adding that “we were a man-up for most of the game after one of their guys was red-carded.”

Luis Barrera, on a penalty kick, and Furkan Akyol scored the East Hampton Reserves’ goals.  

Cristian Gonzalez (16) and his East Hampton Football Club teammates applied continuous pressure throughout Sunday’s match here.