The Eagles were on their home pitch at Ramapo College in Mahwah, NJ this July 4th weekend to take on the only team that had beaten them so far this year, Junior Lone Star. Clarkstown was looking to avenge the loss and also win the Keystone Conference title. The Eagles had already secured a playoff spot with the win over Hershey FC earlier this weekend.
The game started slowly with the Eagles having the larger share of possession, but there were no shots on either goal in the first 35 minutes of the game. However, in the 36th minute, Clarkstown’s Adam Himeno pushed the ball over the heads of the Lone Star defense right to the foot of forward Josue Ortiz, who beat the Lone Star keeper for the first score of the game.
Six minutes later a Lone Star player was fouled and the ensuing free kick was put right in front of the Eagles net. A bicycle kick put the ball in the back of the Eagles net, but it was disallowed because of a foul call on a Lone Star player. That was the end of the action for the first half with Clarkstown leading by a score of 1-0.
The second half had much more action, starting with another Lone Star free kick by forward Anthony Allison in the 48th minute that went right into the hands of Eagles keeper Bryan Lopez. In the 57th minute a Lone Star cross came to the head of Ebere Goodluck, but his header sailed harmlessly over the crossbar. Eight minutes later Clarkstown’s Lucas Befi passed the ball back from the end line to Gabe Camara in front of the Lone Star net and he put it past the keeper for a 2-0 Eagles lead. A minute later Befi’s shot was blocked by the keeper and the rebound was shot back towards the net by Himeno, only to have the keeper push it aside for corner kick. On the ensuing corner kick, Eagles forward Ortiz got his head on it, but it was shot over the crossbar.
In the 68th minute the Eagles mounted another charge down the left side of the pitch with Andreas Chronis passing the ball to Himeno in front of the net. Himeno did not miss from such short range this time and the Eagles now led 3-0.
Junior Lone Star then started to mount an offense, but was it too late? In the 74th minute a shot was saved by Eagles keeper Lopez. Two minutes later a Lone Star free kick sailed over the crossbar. In the 82nd minute Lone Star finally put one into the Eagles net after some nifty passing, making the score 3-1. Lone Star kept the pressure on the Eagles defense, but could not break through again. A red card shown to a Lone Star player in the 94th minute sealed the 3-1 win for Clarkstown this day.
The Eagles are now the Keystone Conference champions for the second year in a row and will be seeded either first or second in the Northeast Region when the regular season ends next weekend.
Owner and head coach Oliver Papraniku was happy that his team avenged the only loss they have had this season and is looking forward to the playoffs with a home field advantage for at least the first round.
“I am proud of my players for stepping up today and playing the way they should. I am not looking past our last regular season game next weekend against New Jersey Copa, but I am pleased that we can skip the wild card round and get our players some well-needed rest before the playoffs begin after a very busy regular season.”