An early goal set the tone for the full 90 minutes as the Cincinnati Saints beat the Fort Pitt Regiment 2-0 in a NPSL Midwest Region match.
Midfielder Phil Haggerty put the ball in the back of the net in the 6th minute after the Regiment failed to clear a corner.
“I went up for the header to challenge the goalie,” Haggerty said. “It popped out and (RJ Best) saw me hanging around in the box. It was just a simple one touch finish. The goalie didn’t really have a chance.”
Saints Coach Dave Wall knew the importance of getting off to an early lead to accomplish their goals for the day.
“From the start we wanted to come out with a good mindset and attack them early, which we did,” Wall said. “That gave us a platform to push on and try to get another one.”
Haggerty was inches away from that second goal when his free kick from just outside the box deflected and hit the crossbar in the 42nd minute.
Cincinnati would continue to knock on the door with a free kick from Jon Cottrell in the 49th minute and a bicycle kick from Kristian Montoya in the 63rd minute. The chances had potential but Regiment keeper Brenden Alfery denied the Saints each time.
The second goal finally came in the 69th minute when Haggerty turned nothing into something, took on defenders from the left flank and drew a penalty kick.
“I was trapped in the corner,” Haggerty said. “Why not pull a little trick out to see what happens? If it goes wrong it goes wrong. I dragged the ball from my right to the left and the defender went right through me.”
Montoya put away the free kick from the spot to make the scoreline 2-0. The match would end 2-0 despite the Saints having another penalty kick in the 77th minute.
Coach Wall was happy with the overall performance of his team.
“We created a lot more chances today. We got into wide spots on the field and our crosses were really good. We took our chances. We can’t get complacent mentally.”
The win moved the Saints to 2-1 on the season and 2-0 on their home field at Withrow High School.
“We want to be undefeated at home so we got to keep that going,” Haggerty said.
Their next match is away at AFC Cleveland on Saturday, June 6th, but the team will return home Wednesday, June 10t