By Gabriel Glynn-Habron/Syracuse FC
Syracuse FC hosted Kingston Stockade FC for a rainy match at Fayetteville-Manlius High School on June 14th. SFC entered the contest with a 0-3-2 record, drawing its last two games. On the other hand, Kingston was looking to improve on its perfect 4-0-0 record. It was the second time that the two clubs faced off with Kingston coming out on top 4-1 in their first clash.
Despite the wet conditions, both teams started fast. Syracuse’s Scott Schuyler fired a shot within the first two minutes, forcing a diving save from Kingston goalkeeper Dylan McDermott. SFC kept up the pressure for much of the first 10 minutes. Syracuse attackers Mupenzi Irakiza and Conor Baird played well together on the left side, presenting a tough challenge to Kingston’s backline.
Holding midfielders Michael Lantry for Syracuse and Andrea Nguionza for the Stockade each had a busy first half. With SFC and Kingston racing up and down the pitch, the pair were forced to act as midfield pivots on the offensive end and break up dangerous counterattacks on the defensive side.
As the first half continued to develop, Kingston began to retain more of the ball. The Stockade looked confident playing from the back, pushing their defender up near the halfway mark of the field while they had possession. Kingston’s Hugo Guerra was particularly effective during the first 45 minutes. Guerra’s slaloming runs and quick feet led to multiple chances and half-chances for the Stockade.
Just as Kingston was beginning to control the game, SFC struck first. In the 33rd minute, Syracuse launched a diagonal ball toward the back post where Irakiza headed a pass to the center of the six-yard box. Before any Kingston defender could make a play, Lantry raced in, heading the ball into the back of the net and giving SFC a 1-0 lead.
However, the game would be turned on its head just minutes after. While the ball bounced off the turf in the 37th minute, Syracuse’s Matthew Stasyuk made a hard challenge on a Kingston player. As a result, Stasyuk was issued a red card, and Syracuse was left to play the remainder of the match a man-down.
Kingston’s biggest chance of the first half would come from a deflected cross. After a ball was sent curling into the box, a Syracuse player went to head it away, but instead it was deflected toward the net. With just a split second to act, SFC goalkeeper Andrew Taylor went airborne, reaching his fingertips up just in time to send the ball floating over the crossbar. The save kept Syracuse on top 1-0 heading into halftime.
With SFC down to just 10 players, Kingston found more success offensively. Apart from a Lantry snapshot that went over the bar, Stockade FC had most of the opportunities in the first 20 minutes of the second half.
Time after time Kingston was able to put pressure on Taylor’s net, forcing a couple of diving saves. With Syracuse focused on protecting the lead, Kingston’s Jacob Shulman began to take advantage of the space in the midfield. Shulman often dropped deep on the right side, using his time and space to lob dangerous balls into the SFC area.
After a back post goal was disallowed in the 77th minute for offside, Kingston would finally get on the board just minutes later. In the 86th minute, Kingston attacker Daniel D’Ippolito sent a shot arrowing from just outside of the box into the bottom right-hand corner of Taylor’s goal. The shot not only drew Kingston level at 1-1, but also marked D’Ippolito’s eighth goal in four games.
The end of the match would be full of tough challenges, yellow cards being given to both teams, and a red card issued to a Stockade player. After it was all said and done, the two teams finished 1-1. Syracuse is back on the field against Valeo FC on June 24th. Kingston also returns with a match against Valeo FC on June 17th.
Photo Credit: Stuart Rotblat