Sachem East head coach Matt Stallone saw a golden chance for his team slipping away.
The Flaming Arrows controlled the pace of play and had numerous chances to put away a feisty Patchogue-Medford squad. With the game tied at one he saw sophomore forward Ansel Ueshiro lose possession of a ball that could have led to another scoring opportunity.
“Ansel, do you need a break?” the coach yelled onto the field. Ueshiro did not say anything, but answered with his feet. Moments later he broke through the Pat-Med defense and scored the game winning goal – his second goal of the night.
The second goal – with just 2:34 remaining in the game – provided the final 2-1 margin.
“Ansel had a brilliant finish in the beginning and the second goal from a through ball by Nick Schook was beautiful,” Stallone said. “I’m happy to get a win and it was a nice night for our graduating seniors and their parents. If they keep working hard it will keep working out.”
It wasn’t easy for East even though they controlled the ball the majority of the game. Pat-Med’s Erwin Cabrera tied the game at one off a corner with 24:45 remaining in the game. Kevin Fitzgerald was credited with an assist on the play that was such a mad scramble in front that Pat-Med coach Steve Vesey couldn’t even tell who scored.
“To tell you the truth I didn’t know how it went in,” he said. “We practice corners and we ran a play that we like to run and we got something off it. We got a header and the practice time paid off.”
Despite multiple close range shots and corner kicks Sachem was not able to strike again until the Ueshiro goal.
“It’s a funny game and that’s what makes this game the best in the world,” Stallone said. “It’s just one little time they come down, a lapse on defense and they tie it up. They’re a very good team and they’re going to take advantage of that. Any team in League I – if we have a lapse in judgment for just 30 seconds like we did – it’s going to be a tie game.”
Pat-Med had one last crack to tie the game in the waning seconds. Bobby Cranor lined up for a free kick and drove the ball just over the Sachem East defensive wall, but East goalkeeper William Siber made a leaping save and punched the ball away just before it hit the top corner of the goal.
“Will’s got great athleticism,” Stallone said. “He’s made that save through the summer time and last season for us. It’s a big time save for a big time keeper.”
In the end Sachem East came away with the victory, but both teams took something positive away from the game.
“It was important for us to play well tonight – we did play well tonight,” Vesey said. “We didn’t get any points out of it but it was important because we have a busy week coming up here. I’m happy with the effort tonight; if we can play like this we can have some success.”