By Breann McKeon/New York Shockers
The New York Shockers scored two late goals in the second half to seal the 2-0 victory over Kingston Stockade FC on Saturday night.
The first goal of the night came just in time off a golden penalty kick opportunity in the 81st minute from Hakeem Rabiu for the Shockers.
“It was a great feeling,” Rabiu said. “I knew all I could do was pick a side of the net and stick with it, and put the ball in the back of the net.”
This was the second penalty kick opportunity in the second half. As the rough play continued to escalate, a penalty kick was issued to the Shockers in the 57th minute.
Adetayo Adefioye took the shot and blasted the ball to the left lower 90, but the Kingston Stockade netminder made a diving save to prevent the goal.
“Sometimes you miss, sometimes you score,” Adefioye said. “But I just kept my head up and kept going.”
And he did exactly that. Minutes after the first goal from Rabiu, Adefioye made a strong run down the left wing and sent a rocket to the right corner of the back of the net to avenge his missed opportunity.
This was Adefioye’s ninth goal of the regular season, as he remains in spot number four for most goals scored in the East Region.
Aside from the late goals, the first half ended scoreless as the physicality ensued minutes after kickoff. Close opportunities came from both sides, but they were all prevented by the defensive lines and goalkeepers.
The Shockers knew they had something to prove going into this matchup after they accepted their first loss 2-0 from Kingston Stockade after their inaugural NPSL matchup back in May. Up until tonight’s loss, Kingston Stockade remained undefeated throughout the regular season.
“With the perfect result of 2-0 tonight, we’re able to host our first playoff game on Wednesday night which is a big step for a first-year club,” Shockers head coach Matt Esposito said.
In the beginning of the season, Esposito told the Any Given Funday podcast that his main goal of the season was to build a sense of community within the Capital Region – and it is safe to say the squad was successful in doing so. Fans from both sides showed out as they packed the bleachers of Afrim’s Sports Park complete with flags, drums, and fireworks.
“I couldn’t even guess how many people were here tonight, the support is awesome,” Esposito said. “We knew it would happen in this area so I’m glad we had the opportunity.”
The Shockers’ can expect the same energy from fans in their confirmed home playoff game on Wednesday night, and the visitor has yet to be determined.
Photo Credit: Amber Yarter/New York Shockers