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Maidstone Wins 7-on-7 Men’s Soccer Title

Thu, 11/30/2023 - 10:38
The Maidstone Market mens soccer team, despite changing personnel, continues to win in Wednesday evening 7-on-7 league fall and spring play at East Hampton Village's Herrick Park.
Leslie Czeladko

The Maidstone Market on Nov. 20 won the Wednesday evening 7-on-7 men's soccer final, defeating top-seeded F.C. Tuxpan 4-1. Maidstone was the second seed.     

To get to the finals, Tuxpan shut out fourth-seeded Tortorella Pools 3-0 in a semifinal matchup on Nov. 15, and the Market, which has won many more 7-on-7 championships over the years than any other team, downed Sag Harbor United 4-2 in a penalty kick shootout.     

Leslie Czeladko, the league's overseer and the manager of Tortorella Pools, reported that in the final "both teams attacked from the get-go. Tuxpan got on the board first, in the eighth minute, with a breakaway goal by Faustino Dominguez, who beat Maidstone's goalie, Cristian Gutierrez, from about 10 yards out. Elvis Rojas, assisted by Justin Carpio, Maidstone's center midfielder, evened the count near the end of the period."   

Tuxpan, which finished the regular season at 6-3-1, and Maidstone, which wound up at 4-1-5, went into the halftime break tied at 1-1. But Maidstone, with unanswered goals by Carpio, Jorge Nieto, and Julio Espinal, was to put the hammer down in the second half to win out with ease.     

Czeladko said that Carpio, assisted by Espinal, put Maidstone up 2-1 with about 18 minutes to play. "Tuxpan's goalie, Wilson Tacuri, came out, stumbled, and fell, and Carpio put the ball into the open cage."     

Nieto's score came about 10 minutes later, after which, Czeladko said, "it looked like Tuxpan gave up."     

Only Alex Mesa, Maidstone's starting goalie, who has been sidelined lately with an ankle injury, remains from the perennial powerhouse whose roster in the past decade included Gehider Garcia, Luis Correa, Xavi Piedramartel, Antonio Padilla, Jose Almansa, and Gerber Garcia. John Romero Sr., the market's owner and the team's manager, has seen to it, however, that there has been little falloff in talent.     

"They still keep winning," said Czeladko, "even when they're a man down."     

Speaking of playing short-handed, Czeladko, who lives on Shelter Island, was miffed when, after arriving at East Hampton's Herrick Park on Nov. 13 for what was to have been an end-of-the-regular-season game with Tuxpan, he learned that the five Tortorella Pools players who showed didn't want to take the field. Tuxpan won that night by forfeit.     

At the semifinals, Czeladko's wife, Eva, said so that everyone within range could hear that her husband, who is on the verge of his 40th year as the league's overseer, might very well call it quits. Asked a week later if he might end his labor of love — without him, this writer said, there most likely would no longer be a 7-on-7 league — Czeladko said that he probably would stay on.     

He's hoping, moreover, that there will be light in the spring: The absence of two light stanchions that used to front Herrick's tennis court fence plunged much of the field into darkness by the time the last two of the Wednesday night games were played this fall. Czeladko said he'd been told by village administrators that those stanchions will go up again in the second phase of the park's renovation.   

As for the league's Golden Boot winner, the trophy went to Tuxpan's Jeremias Simon, Czeladko said. Sag Harbor United's Donald Martinez might well have won it had that season-ending game with Tortorella been played. He, Simon, Tortorella's David Rodriguez Jr., and the East Hampton Soccer Club's Juan Ruiz all ended up with eight goals, "but Simon had more assists."

High School Soccer Awards     

In other local soccer news, Don McGovern, who coaches East Hampton High's boys soccer team, which was a county Class A semifinalist, said this week that the following players are to be presented with awards at the county soccer coaches banquet on Dec. 18: Steven Ortiz, all-county academic; Brian Tacuri, Kevin Hilario, Jonathan Armijos Calle, and John Bustamante, all-conference, and Gary Gutama and Chris Guallpa, all-league.

"All-state and all-county awards are to be announced that night," East Hampton's coach said.     

Tacuri, Hilario, and Bustamante played before "many college coaches" in the county's senior all-star game on Nov. 15.

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