PREVIEW: ESCUDERO TALKS ABOUT THE EAGLES’ DRIVE TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS
With four games left in the regular season, Clarkstown Eagles sit one spot below the last playoff position in third place with a game in hand. Although Clarkstown has been having an up and down season, fullback Joaquin Escudero is assured that his side will push up to the last playoff position.
“I’m confident of making the playoffs,” Escudero said. “The team has more chemistry, we have been playing with each other longer now and we know each other more, that should be enough for us to make the playoffs.
“If we match our opponents’ intensity, we will be good enough to win these last four games of the regular season and we’ll start from zero again in the playoffs. We have to be hungry every game, there’s no space for any mistakes. We have to be focused every minute we’re on the field and trust our teammates and the result will come.”
“Our goal shouldn’t be to make the playoffs, it should be to face Chattanooga in the final in a good intense game where we can hopefully win this championship.”
The lowest point of the playoff contenders’ season so far is a two-game winless run– a 2-1 loss to BuxMont Torch and a 2-2 draw to Electric City Shock–in which they missed several goal scoring opportunities.
“We are one of the most talented teams in the NPSL but we have been unlucky of missing our chances and letting goals in when our opponents have two or three chances a game,” Escudero said.
“Losing against BuxMont was hard and we expected to get a win against Electric City in Scranton but […] us not finishing our chances made us not get those six important points.”
Clarkstown bounced back from the winless run with a 10-0 win over Greater Binghamton FC Thunder in their last game. Escuerdo noted that the victory over Binghamton boosted the club’s inner strength.
“Binghamton’s game was a big win that helped us get confident again and believe in ourselves,” the 20-year-old said.
The New Jersey club became the best scoring team in the Northeast Region after their 10-0 victory over GBFC, tallying 23 goals.
Kodai Ida, Martin Lukashik and Christopher Katona are the team’s top scorers with three goals each. Katona has only been playing with the Eagles in their last two games and already lead the team in goals as he scored twice against Electric City and once against Binghamton.
Escudero expressed that the former Richard Stockton University star striker’s goal scoring ability will be essential in Clarkstown’s run to the playoffs.
“Katona is a great player and a great guy, playing with him makes things easier, his movements are really good and he’s a great goal scorer,” the Spaniard said. “He’s the number nine we needed.”
He later added: “Katona is going to help us by scoring goals and the rest of us are going to help by assisting him. I’m confident we’re going to make the playoffs.”
The defender also mentioned Dritan Sela, who scored two goals against Binghamton.
The Eagles’ last four games are against New Jersey Copa FC, who sits in second place, Electric City (sixth), Hershey FC (seventh), and West Chester United Soccer Club (first).