Duvan Castro said after Hampton F.C.-Bill Miller’s 4-3 victory over Tortorella Pools in the Wednesday evening 7-on-7 league’s final on July 17 that for two years he had wanted to enter a team in the league, and that he had seized on East Hampton-Bayberry’s withdrawal this spring to do so.
Most of his players, he said, following the exciting win — it was as hotly contested a final as this writer can remember — had not played in the league before.
For Tortorella, it was, said Leslie Czeladko, the sixth time his team had played in a seasonal final without winning.
It wasn’t for lack of trying. Neither team let up throughout the 60 minutes of play. Tortorella, thanks to a penalty kick by Eddie Lopez, pulled to within one goal of a tie with several minutes left to play. Cristian Munoz, one of Lopez’s teammates, came very close to evening the count when, soon after, he shot just wide of Bill Miller’s cage. Then, following a goalie kick and a long pass to the goal by Danny Bedoya, Lopez whiffed on a back kick that had he connected might very well have deflected the ball by Bill Miller’s onrushing keeper, Alejandro Bolanos.
Before the game began, Czeladko said the two teams had split during the regular season, “and in each case the losing side played a man-down.”
Bill Miller and Tortorella came to the final, played at East Hampton’s Herrick Park, with full complements.
A rare mistake by Jose Almansa, Bill Miller’s chief defender, led to a Tortorella goal in the early going as Alex George stole the ball not far from Bill Miller’s goal and beat Bolanos from about 10 yards out.
At about the 10th minute, Bill Miller responded as Almansa, Ismael Pena, and Martin Suniga combined to put one by Tortorella’s keeper, Craig Caiazca — Suniga getting the goal and Pena the assist.
A header attempt by Suniga just missed midway through the period, after which Almansa, who’d been sandwiched in the box by two Tortorella defenders as he dashed in on the right side, converted a penalty kick for a 2-1 Bill Miller lead.
That was the score as the half ended.
Lopez, who played on a national-championship team at Briarcliffe College not long ago, made it 2-2 via a terrific free kick in 40th minute that he had taken from just outside the circle, the left-to-right shot zipping by the leaping Bolanos into the upper-right-hand corner of Bill Miller’s nets.
An illegal substitution call put Tortorella a man-down soon after, and Bill Miller took full advantage, wresting back the lead again when a hard, ground-hugging shot from the right side by Suniga changed direction as the ball hit the legs of Marin, who had backed up to defend.
Cristian Gonzales clinched the championship for Bill Miller with a stunning one-touch shot from about 25 yards out in the 53rd minute — a blast that the screened Caiazca didn’t see coming and which landed high in the left-hand corner of Tortorella’s nets.
Later, after having been presented with the trophy, Bill Miller, a Sag Harborite who has a tree-pruning business, said his loyalties had been tested inasmuch as Tortorella’s Lopez and Bedoya, as well as Castro, work for him.
Castro could well argue that he had the two best goalies in the league in the persons of Bolanos and Alex Meza, who had for a number of years been Maidstone Market’s keeper. Bolanos came over, Castro said, when East Hampton-Bayberry, the league’s perennial power in years gone by, withdrew.
“It’s the 10th title for him,” Castro said of Meza, who has won nine with the Market.
Tryouts for Hampton United’s entry in the Long Island Soccer Football League this fall, a Sunday semipro league with teams from Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk, are to be held at the Ross School fields the evenings of Tuesday, Aug. 6, and Thursday, Aug. 8. Corey DeRosa, who’s getting the team together with John Romero, Maidstone Market’s owner, has said all are welcome to take part in the Tuesday and Thursday practice sessions there.
Moreover, Czeladko said there will be a 7-on-7 tournament on Shelter Island, a tournament in memory of Simon Gavron, on Monday, Aug. 12, and Monday, Aug. 19. Castro said he’ll enter a team.