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Men’s 7-on-7 Soccer Newbie Makes Playoffs

Thu, 08/05/2021 - 12:30

Tortorella Pools had a chance to make it into the the men's 7-on-7 soccer league's Final Four if it defeated F.C. Tuxpan in a regular-season finale at East Hampton's Herrick Park on July 26, which it did, but to advance it also needed the league leader, Maidstone Market, to beat F.C. Palora, a new entry, later that night, which Maidstone didn't.

The Market, a perennial champion, had clinched the playoffs' top seed the week before, and goes into them with a 7-2-1 record and 22 points. The runner-up East Hampton Soccer Club goes in with 18, and F.C. Tuxpan and F.C. Palora go in with 14 each. Tortorella, which ended with 12 points, and Sag Harbor United, which wound up with 1, did not make the postseason.

Maidstone and Palora are to meet in the first semifinal match-up tonight, at 6:30, with the East Hampton Soccer Club and F.C. Tuxpan to follow, at 7:40.

The championship game is to be played at the park next Thursday at 7.

Initially, it didn't look as if Tortorella would have any trouble defeating Tuxpan. Tortorella was at full strength and Tuxpan was missing several players, including Donald Martinez, the team's high-scorer, and its goalkeeper, Christian Neira, both of whom had received two yellow cards the week before. Thus Tuxpan, with its 51-year-old manager, Antonio Chavez, filling in, began the game with four field players, i.e., two men down.

Wilson Tacuri had the unenviable task of tending goal for Chavez's team, and held up well in the opening minutes, but then, inevitably, Tortorella began to pour it on as David Rodriguez Jr. scored twice from in close and Stiven Orrego, from a little farther out, netted one. 

Actually, it was Cristian Compuzano, a stocky Tuxpan defender, who launched the game's first serious shot -- a booming one that almost covered the length of the entire field before bouncing over the goalie Cristian Rios's head and then over the crossbar.

Tuxpan did get on the scoreboard before the first half was over thanks to a 40-yard goal by Roberto Meza.

The teams were evenly matched in the second half thanks to Tuxpan's late arrivals, and after Rodriguez had misfired facing an open goal, Compuzano made it 3-2, after which his teammate, Jose Gutierrez, banged a shot off the crossbar. 

Compuzano was sent off for two minutes by the referee with eight minutes to play, but his teammates held off Tortorella in his absence. Tuxpan had three corner throw-ins in the final minutes, but could not even the count.

The Soccer Club defeated Sag Harbor United 4-1 in the night's second game as Justin Carpio, with a goal and three assists, Jorge Naula, with two goals, and Maicol Parra with one, led the way for the winners. Diego Vasquez scored for S.H.U.

Maidstone had overwhelmed F.C. Palora 7-0 in a game played on May 19, but it was a different story this time. Palora's Michael Montes de Oca served notice when he put a shot by Maidstone's keeper, Alex Mesa, three minutes into the contest. Several minutes later, Nick Escalante, the league's Golden Boot winner, with 14 goals in the regular season, found Xavi Piedramartel unmarked a few feet away from the left post, and the latter's shot beat the on-rushing keeper, Diego Pitirris.

Montes De Oca was to come up big again for F.C. Palora in the second half as he buried a penalty kick that was awarded about midway through the period. 

Maidstone was to be awarded two penalty kicks in the game's final minutes, but Alex Mesa, who came up from his goalie position to take them, was foiled twice in dramatic fashion by Pitirris.

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