HOLMDEL, N.J. – New Jersey Copa FC vaulted to the top of the East Conference standings by knocking off the only team in the conference it has ever lost to – the Long Island Rough Riders. Long Island (4-1-1) went ahead early on a defensive mistake, but NJCFC (6-1-1) controlled the second half in a 2-1 win at Saint John Vianney High School Sunday night.
Defender Alana O’Neill struck in the 54th minute before a penalty kick from forward Jeanine Nunez put Copa in front for good. NJCFC (19 points) still has never lost at home and surged four points in front of the conference field. With two regular season games remaining, they host second-place New England Mutiny (5-2 East, 15 points) this Saturday.
Long Island struck first in the fourth minute when forward Madison Vasquez picked off an errant pass in the back from Copa goalkeeper Kristyn Shea (four saves) and went in uncontested and scored to the far post. NJCFC evened the score at 1-1 after a flurry of shots in the 54th minute. Midfielder Jessica Reinhardt and Forward Krystyna Freda were twice denied by Rough Riders keeper Melissa Guglielmo (five saves). O’Neill unleashed a shot from 30 yards that caromed off the underside of the crossbar and across the line. In the 61st minute, Freda eluded two defenders, leading to a breakaway on the left side of the box where she was taken down by Guglielmo. Nunez cashed in with her sixth tally of the season.
NEW ENGLAND MUTINY 2, NEW YORK SURF 0
EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. – The New England Mutiny hosted the New York Surf at East Longmeadow High School on Sunday afternoon and had the services of forward Abby Sotomayor – who saw game action for the first time in five games – and club veterans in forward Chanel Johnson and midfielder McKenzie Hollenbaugh added to the game day lineup. The Mutiny (5-2) converted on two beautifully-built up passing sequences in each half en route to a 2-0 win over the Surf (4-2-2) in an important conference match. New England goalkeeper Gabby Arruda made three saves in the shutout while Colleen Hickey (four saves) suffered the loss in goal for New York.
The Mutiny scored in the 14th minute after Sotomayor drove in a corner kick that Hickey punched away. Defender Jennifer Cafferky collected the ball and with her back to goal, dropped her pass to midfielder Charlie Branch who drove her shot inside the left netting. New England clung to the 1-0 lead as the game progressed into the second half, and tallied the insurance goal in the 65th minute after their best passing sequence of the season. Branch switched the ball to midfielder Sage Dieterle who played it to midfielder Brenna Brown. Brown found team captain Kate Howarth with a touch pass on the wing and her cross reached Johnson who headed the ball under the cross bar for the 2-0 score.
NEW YORK SURF 3, LANCASTER INFERNO 1
BRONX, N.Y. – The New York Surf hosted the Lancaster Inferno at SUNY Maritime in the Bronx on Saturday afternoon in the rubber match of the season series between the two sides. New York’s offense led the way as the Surf scored three unanswered goals in a 3-1 win over the Inferno (3-4) with goalkeeper Colleen Hickey making three saves in the team’s fourth win of the 2017 campaign. The combination of Jordan Kamp and Kelly O’Brien made five total saves in the loss for Lancaster.
New York scored early in the match as forward Talani Barnett headed in a cross from forward Sara Plowman in the 14th minute. It would take another 44 minutes for the hosts to tally the game-winning goal, as forward Meagen Doyle took the pass from defender Trista Seara in the middle of the box, popped the ball into the air and bicycled her shot past O’Brien. In the 65th minute, midfielder Furtuna Velaj notched her team-leading fifth goal of 2017 on a chip over the keeper’s head for the 3-0 lead. Lancaster’s Tesa McKibben brought one back for the visitors in the 70th minute on an assist from midfielder Siobhan Cross.
NEW JERSEY COPA FC 4, NEW YORK MAGIC 0
BROOKLYN, N.Y. – New Jersey Copa FC made the short road trip north to Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon to face the New York Magic in the first matchup between the two organizations this season. Two goals in each half propelled NJCFC to a 4-0 victory over the Magic (0-5-1) and the goalkeeping combination of Andrea Leitner and Aytana Muschajew (three saves) notched the shutout in goal for the visitors. New York goalkeeper Sierra Bonham made six saves in the loss.
New Jersey tallied the eventual game-winning goal in the 25th minute, as midfielder Camille Bowen played a nice through ball to Lauren Mazich, who found forward Katarina Nilsson open in the box for a one-touch finish. Just minutes after subbing into the match for Nilsson, forward Alexis Williams capitalized on a rebound to put Copa up by a 2-0 score. The Magic had scoring opportunities in the 32nd and 37th minutes but could not beat Leitner. It would take until the 80th minute for NJCFC to put the game out of reach, with Jeanine Nunez tallying the third goal and than converting on a penalty kick in the 90th minute for the final score.
WESTERN NEW YORK FLASH 3, ROCHESTER LADY LANCERS 2
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Western New York Flash recorded a win over the Rochester Lady Lancers for the second time in a week, and continued to roll through the latter half of their East schedule via a 3-2 victory at Charles Schiano Field at Aqunias Institute Saturday.
Forward Carissima Cutrona recorded her sixth and seventh goals of the season, tying for the league lead – while the goalkeeping tandem of Alana Rossi and Emily Kelly made eight saves for the Flash. Western New York (3-3-2, 11 points) won the inaugural version of the Thruway Rivalry, claiming wins in both matches over Rochester (0-7-1, 1).
The Flash got off to another quick start when Cutrona found herself open in front of the net and converted in the eighth minute.
Rochester responded in the 32nd minute with a goal from forward Taylor Wingerden’s penalty kick.
The second half was full of breakaways as the Flash finally converted in the 66th minute when forward Maddie Pezzino ran in from 35 yards before deking Lady Lancers keeper Kelsey Brinkel and putting the ball into the empty net.
In the 71st minute, Cutrona tallied her second goal with a strike that hit the crossbar and bounced over the line.
Rochester made a late push when midfielder Michaela Areno put one away to cut the lead to 3-2 in the 87th minute.