By Christopher Decker/Cedar Stars FC
Cedar Stars FC (CSFC) welcomed Valeo FC to Faller Field in Middletown, NY for CSFC’s second home game of their inaugural season in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). The match kicked off at 7:00 pm on Saturday, May 21, 2022, while the Hudson Valley was experiencing a heat wave and a temperature well over ninety degrees on the pitch.
Cedar Stars FC were coming off a 1-1 draw against Hartford City FC in CSFC’s home-opener last weekend. On Saturday night CSFC once again put out a fairly young roster, including Gabriel Garcia starting at right back, from Cedars Stars Academy’s U17 team that has earned a spot in the USYS National Championship this summer. Valeo FC, on the other hand, had an experienced NPSL starting eleven, and it showed.
Immediately upon kickoff on this scorcher of a night, Valeo FC played the ball directly back to their goalkeeper who played it up and over the field and into the CSFC penalty box. Valeo FC got in behind the defense, and then dropped the ball back to a teammate near the penalty spot to bury the ball in the net. Valeo FC showed what they were capable of in the first moments of the match and never pulled back throughout the full 90 minutes.
Perhaps shocked at the start, CSFC did not just sit back and give the game to Valeo FC. CSFC quickly created a few quality chances, as they would throughout the match, but luck was not on their side this evening. The first half ended with CSFC down 3-0. However, with some quality coaching and options on the bench, CSFC made some changes and came out strong in the second half.
With the match ending 5-0 in Valeo FC’s favor, it was not a total loss for Cedar Stars FC. Sean Reilly, a CSFC midfielder and a proven coach himself, shared his thoughts.
“[The CSFC] lineup was comprised of a lot of young players, and this game was a great learning experience for them.” Reilly went on to state that he is optimistic about how the team will learn and grow from the match.
Despite an obviously disappointing loss in front of a great home crowd, there was a sense of optimism amongst the CSFC coaching staff who look to learn from the match against Valeo FC and build on it. CSFC Assistant Coach Declan Duffin had a similar sentiment as CSFC player Sean Reilly regarding the less experienced CSFC roster.
“It was a learning experience for us coaches, the players, and especially our youth academy players that were part of the match this evening,” Duffin said. He went on to discuss that there is work to be done on the training pitch, and CSFC now looks forward to the second leg against Valeo FC later in the season after learning from tonight’s match.
It was a blazing hot night in the Hudson Valley and a tough loss for Cedar Stars FC to a quality Valeo FC side.
CSFC looks to move back up the table when they travel north along the Hudson River to take on Kingston Stockade FC in the first-ever derby match between the two local teams next Saturday, May 28 with a 6:00 pm kickoff at Dietz Stadium in Kingston, NY. Please email ContactUsHudsonValley@CedarStars.com for information on how to obtain tickets as away fans.
Photo Credit: Christopher Decker/Cedar Stars FC