Close matches in Major action Downtown

Saturday’s rains left patches of mud on the Battery Park City fields, but the clear blue skies and bright sunshine made up for it, and set the tone for three close games in the Downtown Soccer League’s Major 10 division on Sunday.


Valencia vs. Barcelona

After a scoreless first half, undefeated Valencia’s Liam Fuerst and Niall Gallagher each scored a quick goal to put Valencia ahead of Barcelona.  Jack McGreevey’s breakaway was smothered by Sader Matar in goal for Barcelona.  Valencia’s Brody Sharoff made the next attempt, but Matar made another skillful save.  Brothers Jack Vegas and Jeremiah Wysoker traded back and forth, but were unable to connect for a Barcelona goal.  In the last offensive play, McGreevey passed to Gallagher, but Matar foiled them again, keeping the final score Valencia 2, Barcelona 0.

Mallorca vs. Sevilla 

Mallorca had not tasted victory yet this season, and when they realized they didn’t have a full side, received permission from the Sevilla coaches to bring in a ringer.  And that was the spark they needed, as Mallorca put constant pressure on the Sevilla defense. 

Sevilla’s Max Kong made two great clears, followed by a header by Luke Marable.  But Jack McGreevey was not showing any signs of wear from playing a full game for Valencia the previous hour.  He pushed downfield for Mallorca, but Nicky Leong in goal took him out in his first of many attempts to score.  James Carney turned the ball around and brought it downfield, but his momentum was stopped by Nina Karavasilis.  McGreevey took advantage and punted the ball over Leong’s head to move Mallorca ahead for the first time this season. 

Sevilla’s Elias Griffin continued his consistent dribbling and passing game, but his breakaway was also stopped by Karavasilis.  Nick Winokur took over with some excellent dribbling downfield for Mallorca.  Sevilla’s Tyler Adams took charge and made a great pass, but that was blocked by Cameron Burger.  Sevilla persevered, with a surge by Carney, but his pass was lost in a sea of black jerseys. 

Dante Vega-Lamere’s shot was saved by Leong, and Sevilla’s Jacob Roter demonstrated his excellent ball-handling skills to bring it back.  His pass to Griffin resulted in a fast breakaway, but Griffin’s subsequent shot on goal went wide.  Ben Karam got into the action for Mallorca, but his shot on goal was also wide.  Karam picked up the ball and passed to McGreevey, who fired a cannon at Leong.  Coombe recovered a loose ball and scored the first official goal of the season for Mallorca.  

Mallorca continued to play great defense against Sevilla in the second half, with spectacular clears by Lucy Winokur.  McGreevey, who had been pulled back to defense, still managed to crank the ball over the heads of the Sevilla defense, but his shot was saved by Tyler Rohan, now in goal for Sevilla.  Carney impressed the crowd with what looked like a standing bicycle kick, but the ball’s movement towards the Sevilla goal was stopped by Karavasilis in another tough block.  Griffin went on a perfect breakaway and shot one past Turner for Sevilla’s first goal. McGreevey’s shot at the end missed the outstretched arms of goalie Rohan by inches, adding another goal for his adopted team.  The final official score was Mallorca 3, Sevilla 1, but will be recorded as a tie in the official D.S.L. record books.


Athletico vs. Real Madrid

In the third game of the day, Athletico (2-2-1) faced Real Madrid (3-2) in a tight match.  Athletico’s Balthazar Merrin faked out Clyde Huibregtse in goal by shooting low as Huibregtse went high, bringing an early first goal for Athletico.  Real Madrid’s Ryan Porcaro (always a pleasure to watch) had a fine breakaway.  His pass to teammate Felix Parker resulted in a sweet shot past Judah Lang in goal, tying the game at one. Brandon Mirabella gave a high five to baby brother Hudson on the sidelines. Merrin’s offensive pressure was blocked by great defense from Sam Liberman, Wyatt Accardi and Deejai Riangkrul, who broke up several scoring attempts.  Sophia Stoch (who last week had at least three interceptions where she shielded the ball, turned it up field and connected on smart passes) and brother Jasper Stoch also worked together to stop Merrin’s train. Fellow engineers of Athletico’s offense included Meret Baumann, Maisie Fisher, Mia Potter and Julia Udell.

Going into the second half tied, Madrid changed it up from last week’s debut of their “Big Guy Offense” (Riangkrul, Liberman and Curtis-Ginsburg) and kept their “Fast Guy Offense’” (Porcaro, Luke Dilworth, Parker) near the goal in an attempt to move ahead.  Curtis-Ginsberg was in goal instead, and made a brilliant save for R.M.  Kyra Russo made a fine clear, but Athletico’s Will Pangburn and Judah Lang continued to keep the ball close. Gavin Zinzell kept up the pressure until he was able to sneak one past Curtis-Ginsberg.  Anna Van Patten celebrated the go-ahead goal with a cartwheel in midfield, and despite attempts by R.M.’s Fischer Bodwell, Milo Bernfield-Millman, Advay Sriram and Grace Bristol, Madrid was not able to overcome Athletico’s lead.  The final score was Athletico 2, Real Madrid 1.