The Clarkstown SC Eagles traveled south to Mercer County Community College to take on New Jersey Copa FC in a clash between the last two unbeaten teams in the Keystone Conference. Like their previous four games, the Eagles came out strong on offense in the first half. In the 22nd minute Lucas Befi came down the middle and passed to Michael Palacio on the left side who beat the Copa keeper. The Eagles scored again in the 37th minute when Martin Dadaj saw Befi streaking down the left side. A pass to Befi and a quick shot past the keeper made the score 2-0, where it would remain at half time. Each team only managed to get off three shots in the first half, but the Eagles made two of theirs count.
The second half was a completely different game as the Eagles lost three players to injury and Copa came out aggressively on offense, putting the Eagles back on their heels for the entire half. Copa FC finally broke through in the 52nd minute when Andres Berriel blasted a shot from 35 yards out into the upper 90 of the Eagles net making the score 2-1. Copa kept the barrage coming with a shot in the 63rd minute by Dennis Correia sailing harmlessly over the Eagle’s goal.
The Eagles responded in the 66th minute when Lucas Befi shot from the right side across the goal mouth, only to be denied by a great one-hand diving save by the Copa keeper. The action was end-to-end when two minutes later Copa’s Daniel Mendoza missed with a header from a right side cross. The Eagles responded again with another Befi shot from the right side. The keeper just got a couple of fingers on the ball, just enough to deflect it onto the left side post, keeping the score at 2-1.
Copa FC kept the pressure on the Eagles and outshot them by a four to one margin in the second half, but could not put one past the Eagle’s keeper. In stoppage time, with Copa FC pressing hard, the Eagle’s Adam Himeno broke down the right side and found Befi streaking down the middle alone. A pass to Befi resulted in a shot that the Copa keeper made a great one handed save on and that is how the game ended. The Eagles remain undefeated in the Keystone Conference and are the only unbeaten and untied team in the entire Northeast Region.
Eagles owner and head coach Oliver Papraniku had praise for his stingy defense that was tested in the second half when a number of the Eagles starters had to be subbed out after injury.
“Our defense kept us in the game once again and denied Copa the tying goal. And even though we were outshot by almost four to one, we got off a number of quality shots that would have been goals if not for some great saves by the Copa keeper.”
The Eagles next match is scheduled for Saturday, June 11th on the pitch at Fitzpatrick Field at the University of Scranton versus the Electric City Shock.