Going into the July 17 playoff semifinals in the 7-on-7 men’s soccer league, top-seeded East Hampton Soccer Fever, which was undefeated, and second-seeded Maidstone Market, which had one loss, seemed headed for a showdown in the championship game that’s to be played at East Hampton’s Herrick Park on July 24.
In regular-season-ending games played July 10, Soccer Fever prevailed 3-2 over F.C. Tuxpan, and the Market trounced Sag Harbor United 6-0.
Soccer Fever, a new but strong entry, and Maidstone, which has been the league’s perennial power over the years, played twice in the regular season, on May 8 and June 12, with each game ending in a 1-1 tie.
Justin Carpio of Soccer Fever and Eddy Juarez of Maidstone scored the goals in the May 8 game, one in which the Market was missing some of its players. Soccer Fever had a chance to win the June 12 matchup when awarded a penalty kick in the second half, but the shot taken by Sebastian Fuquen, whose penalty kick earlier had tied the score, was parried by Maidstone’s goalie, Alex Mesa.
Leslie Czeladko, the league’s spokesman, made note of the fact on the league’s website recently that in order to qualify to play for Maidstone in the final, Julian Barahona and Luis Correa would have to show up for the regular-season finale with Sag Harbor. Correa did not play, but Barahona did, and made his presence known early on with a breakaway goal that beat Victor Velasquez, who going into the game was the league’s leading goalkeeper.
Sag Harbor’s Jeremias Simon stole the ball a couple of minutes later, but his ground-hugging bid for the left corner went just wide of the far post.
Barahona again came up big when, with about nine minutes left until the halftime break, he gathered in a through pass from Juarez and fired another shot by Velasquez for a 2-0 Maidstone lead.
Sag Harbor’s Mario Bautista, who subsequently banged one off the post from 20 yards out, received a yellow card with about six minutes left, leaving his team a man short for two minutes, but Sag Harbor weathered it.
Barahona himself was yellow-carded early in the second half, but by that time John Romero, Maidstone’s manager, had replaced Xavi Piedramartel, Mathew Ramirez, and Gerber Garcia with some rested onlookers, one of whom, George Naula, went on to set up two goals and, in the final minutes, to score two goals of his own, capping the 6-0 rout.
The first game on July 10 was, by contrast, a pretty even one, with Soccer Fever winding up a 3-2 victor over Tuxpan thanks to goals by Carpio and Fuquen (two). Tomas Inocencio and Donald Martinez scored for Tuxpan.
Carpio and Martinez’s goals were their ninth ones of the season, bringing them to within one of a tie with Tortorella Pool’s David Rodriguez for the league’s “golden boot” award.
As a result of the July 10 contests, East Hampton Soccer Fever finished with 22 points, Maidstone Market with 21, F.C. Tuxpan with 16, and Sag Harbor United with 14. Sag Harbor was to have played Soccer Fever in last night’s first game; Tuxpan and Maidstone were to have followed.
Turning to other soccer news, Luis Barrera said East Hampton Soccer Fever’s under-9 entry in the Long Island Junior Soccer League (one of about a half-dozen teams Soccer Fever has playing in Islandwide competition) had, at 6-1-1, finished first in its division, one that includes teams from Huntington, Smithtown, Kings Park, Longwood, Rocky Point, and Middle Country.
As for the Hampton United team on which he plays in Suffolk’s over-30 men’s soccer league, Barrera said, “We finished in second place [to Charruas 1950] again, for the fourth time. Maybe we’ll get some new players.”