Borgetto celebrates winning the Ryder-Vass tournament. (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
By Michael Lewis
MASSAPEQUA PARK, N.Y. – It takes many if not most teams years before it can claim a trophy.
Then there’s Borgetto FC U-23 Blue, which, after only two years of existence, already has earned three titles.
In the spring, Borgetto FC captured the Cosmopolitan Soccer League’s Second Division crown to earn promotion to the First Division.
Then the team won the (CSL) John Kilby Cup.
On Sunday night, Borgetto FC made it a treble by capturing the Ryder-Vass Under-23 tournament at John J. Burns Park with a 4-2 victory over Port Jefferson in the Long Island Soccer Football League competition.
“It means a lot,” Borgetto head coach Ivo Mohorovic said. “We’re pretty much a new team. We put this team together, six months ago.”
That was after the team played during a shortened 2019-20 CSL season before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“A lot of the guys have played for me before at the Met Oval,” Mohorovic added. “It’s a lot of my old guys that have that I’m bringing back together after college and. So, it’s special because a lot of these kids grew up with me.”
To appreciate Borgetto’s triumph, it must be noted that Port Jefferson has produced several championship sides in the LISFL over the past decade. This past season, Port Jeff captured the LISFL Premier League crown with a 12-0-2 mark as it outscored its foes, 50-11.
“This is definitely one of the harder games we had this season,” said Matthias Adamek, who scored Borgetto’s second goal. “We stuck in there, kept to our game plan and got the job done.”
Team captain Alessandro Canicatti, who scored the fourth goal, agreed.
“We knew coming into this game that it was going be a battle of the two top teams,” he said. “Massive respect to Port Jeff. They played a helluva game.”
But Borgetto played a better game, with some fine pinpoint passing and using the right flank to penetrate into the visitors’ defensive zone and penalty area.
Since joining the CSL, Borgetto has lost only three times in 31 matches, registering a 26-3-2 mark.
After completing the CSL double, Borgetto was hungry for some more competition. And what better way than the LISFL’s annual U-23 tournament? The tourney was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.
“We wanted something to keep going, rather than just training,” said Mohorovic, who participated in the Ryder-Vass tourney during his playing days. “So, I thought this was the best thing out there for us.”
And the worst thing for many other teams.
Only nine days after the Kilby Cup, Borgetto started its summer schedule with a 3-1 home win over Rosedale SC U-23 June 22. Three days later, it added another home victory, a 2-1 result over the New Hyde Park Lynx. It continues at Brooklyn United with a 4-1 triumph June 20.
The team finish out its group schedule with three consecutive wins – a 7-0 victory over its U-23 side, a 2-0 result past B.W. Gottschee and a 6-1 triumph over Auburndale SC on July 11, 13 and 20, respectively.
In the July 25 quarterfinals, it survived a close encounter with the NY Irish Rovers, winning a shootout, 3-1, after playing to a 1-1 draw.
Borgetto recorded a 6-3 win over Rosedale SC at the Field of Dreams in Massapequa Aug. 1, to set up the final confrontation with Port Jefferson.
Mohorovic realized whom Borgetto was up against.
“I told them [the team] before the game: ‘We have been cruising a little bit. Today is going be very good test for us,’ ” he said. “I knew because I know a bunch of kids on the other side, a lot of Stony Brook [University] kids. So, I knew it was going to be a test. We came out on the front foot and kind of put them on their back on their heels.”
The CSL team grabbed a four-goal advantage by the 58th minute en route to its eighth consecutive win in the competition.
Borgetto split its four goals on either side of halftime.
During a rain-swept first half, Alexis Santo lifted Borgetto into the lead in the 22nd minute, firing home a shot from the top left of the box.
“I saw the goalie go to one side and i just switched it to the other side,” Santo said. “I’m just honestly grateful to have scored and help my team to another trophy.”
Added Adamek: “We usually concede first, which is a shock. Today, how we scored 4-0, but we were a little scared on opposition coming back. A 2-0 lead at the half is always dangerous but we managed to stick with it and get the win.”
Scoring the first goal was a must.
“We knew that first one was crucial,” Santo said, “and we just kept adding onto the lead. … We had to defend. We had to be solid in the back, solid in the midfield and solid up front. Everybody did their job today.”
Adamek doubled the lead in the 34th minute, scoring off a sequence from a corner kick.
“Right place, right time to hit it on the sweet spot,” he said.
The two-goal halftime lead was a pleasant surprise for Borgetto.
“We usually concede first, which is a shock,” Adamek said. “We were a little scared on opposition coming back. A 2-0 lead at the half is always dangerous but we managed to stick with it and get the win.”
Only 98 seconds into the second half, Matthew Hesse found the net, knocking the ball home off the right post for a three-goal advantage.
Canicatti closed out the CSL team’s scoring, heading home a rebound of a shot that hit the crossbar in the 58th minute.
Port Jefferson made it interesting by converting a penalty kick in the 70th minute and adding a second goal six minutes later.
“After we got the fourth, we got a little lackadaisical and they got back into it,” Mohorovic said.
Borgetto’s work is not quite done.
Mohorovic said that he will give his team two weeks off before starting preparations to play in the CSL in September.
He and his players had little doubt that the Ryder-Vass triumph will give the team much momentum entering the new season in several ways.
“This has given us a lot of confidence to keep adding players that some people may not be here all the time and also getting more of a media presence and having more people come to us instead of us coming out to them,” Adamek said. “It’s also allowing us to play better soccer.”
Well, that’s the last thing Borgetto’s opponents will want to hear.