By New York Shockers
The New York Shockers were unable to score against Syracuse FC, but were still able to get another point in a 0-0 draw on Wednesday evening at Afrim’s Sports Park. This now extends the goal drought at home to four games as well as three consecutive games without a goal.
It was not for a lack of effort, but some phenomenal saves from Syracuse goalkeeper Andrew Taylor. His performance, combined with well as some chances that were just high or just wide of the goal, left the Shockers without a goal to show for. Shockers goalkeeper Ryan Henning was able to extend his home shutout streak to three games in a row, while he has only allowed a single goal at home all season.
The game started off slowly, with only one shot in the first 10 minutes, a shot from Wisdom Ishaya of the Shockers. New York was able to dominate possession from the beginning and was content with waiting and looking for a golden opportunity. A yellow card in the 10th minute by Syracuse’s Matthew Stasyuk for a late challenge was a sign of the physicality to come as well as the potential trouble the Shockers could cause.
It took 20 minutes for the Shockers to start getting shots off, but were able to string a couple of great chances together. After a powerful shot from Pedro Espindola was blocked in the 22nd minute and a half-chance from Syracuse off a corner a minute later, the best chances of the game came for New York. Off a corner kick from Adel Cekic, Anthony Rouse was able to get his head on the ball and force a great save from Taylor, but he was not able to hold onto it and started a mad scramble for it in the six-yard box. After it pinballed off a couple players, Ishaya looked to have a chance at an open net with keeper on the ground, but Taylor was able to make an incredible goal-line save and keep this a scoreless game.
A couple more chances would come in the first half for the Shockers, with Cekic, Espindola, Jackson Leon, and Antonio Linge all forcing the Syracuse defense to do some work. Cekic was involved in several chances, with his free kick in the 30th minute going just high, a cross he made that was headed just wide by Linge in the 41st minute, and another free kick in first-half stoppage time going for the bottom right corner that was saved again by Taylor.
The first half ended without a goal, but the Shockers had all the momentum, and looked likely to score in the second half.
New York looked as they were going to repeat their first half performance and the first 10 minutes made it appear that fans were in for more of the same. The pressure on the Syracuse defense was increased even with the Shockers playing even further in their attacking half and pinning them to their own box at times. This did lead to some counterattacking chances for Syracuse, but they still had trouble being able to get into their attacking half. Espindola was able to get on another ball that bounced around the box in the 50th minute. However, his shot from the outside his foot went just wide. Caio Hughes was able to sneak past two Shockers and put a dangerous shot on Henning’s goal that also went just wide. Syracuse had a breakaway opportunity in the 63rd minute off a defensive clearance, but that was stopped quickly by the Shockers defense.
The next 20 minutes of the game saw the most emotion of the game with several brief stoppages for substitutions and injuries. The game quieted down until the final whistle with only a couple late chances. A dangerous free kick from Syracuse in the 90th minute went wide off the boot of Hughes, and a Shockers opportunity in the box that Daryl Jeffery was not able to connect with saw the game end without a goal.
Even though the match featured a 0-0 draw, the crowd of over 600 was treated to a great gameday atmosphere and a night of high-quality soccer. The draw moves the New York Shockers up to seven points with two games remaining. Syracuse moves to five points with two games remaining. Currently the Shockers hold the fourth and final playoff spot for the North Atlantic Conference. Syracuse FC would need to obtain one more win than the Shockers in their last two games to pass them. The last two games for the Shockers include a road game on July 1st against conference leaders Kingston Stockade FC and their regular season finale at Afrim’s Sports Park on July 8th against Valeo FC.
Photo Credit: Amber Yarter