Kingston, NY— There is just something about Stockade FC vs Brooklyn Italians in 2019 that brings out the late dramatics. Wednesday night was no different as Stockade FC equalized in the 92nd-minute to blow the roof off Dietz Stadium in front of 1,057 fans and extended their club-record unbeaten streak to 11 games. During the stretch, Stockade FC has gone 7W- OL-4D (7-1-4 overall) and has collected 25 of 33 possible points.
After a rain delay which pushed kickoff time back over an hour, the match began with an extremely tense, chippy playoff-like atmosphere. Brooklyn Italians opened the scoring only 9 minutes into the match as sloppy play on the wet surface resulted in a break out for Anthony Gimenes to find the lead in early stages for the visitors.
Stockade FC responded almost immediately. Just 2 minutes later, Afonso Pinheiro used his strength to beat his man along the endline and find Scott Zobre at the top of the box. Zobre would pound home the leveler in the 11th minute as his strike rattled the roof of the net to draw Stockade FC and Brooklyn at 1-1.
The chippy, aggressive play was allowed to continue throughout. Neither team was able to find a real rhythm in possession as the back and forth attacks continue during the first half. In the second half, Brooklyn began to settle a bit more of the possession in the opening minutes. Just over 53 minutes into the match, Brooklyn’s Faouzi Taieb struck a long driven ball from near midfield which took an unfortunate bounce off the slick surface and beat Stockade FC goalkeeper Greg Monroe.
The match took a major swing in the 55th minute after Bernardo Mattos was shown a straight red card and sent off, for what appeared to be a ball-winning challenge. In the mayhem of the situation, Pedro Espindola was shown his second yellow card for verbally protesting the decision and Stockade FC were reduced to 9-men.
Down to 9-men, surely, the comeback was too much to ask. Head Coach Jamal Lis-Simmons went to his bench looking for a boost after the Starting XI had given everything they had left. Frankie Ljucovic, Paul Makaj, Vinny Colantuono, Justin Jaime, Brandon Gracias and Brady Van Epps came into the match for their moment, to create their headline. They did just that. Stockade FC began to control more of the possession of play after switching to a 3-back system to push numbers into the attack. The reserves began to push for an equalizer and create opportunities.
The opportunity arose.
The fight and determination of Joao Avila in the attacking end helped to lay the ball for Brady Van Epps to smash home the Stockade FC leveler in the 93rd minute of play and blow the proverbial roof off of Dietz Stadium, sending sound waves throughout Uptown Kingston.
The draw keeps Stockade FC’s playoff hopes alive. With 2 matches remaining, Stockade FC needs to collect maximum points at Boston CIty and at NY Cosmos. Hey, Hartford! Hey, Rough Diamonds! We need your help. Brooklyn has 3 matches remaining (vs. Hartford, @ Cosmos and vs. Rough Diamonds) in which they can only collect a maximum of 5 points from those matches to keep the dream alive.
XI: Monroe; Mattos, Markovic, Avila, Robinson; Koziol, Rezenede, Williams; Espindola, Zobre, Pinheiro
MOTM (MEN of the match)
Brady Van Epps (11)
Frankie Ljucovic (26)
Paul Makaj (29)
Vinny Colantuono (17)
Justin Jaime (20)
Joao Avila (5)
Noah Robinson (21)
Brandon Gracias (33)
Greg Monroe (1)
There is simply no way to pick one, single MOTM. The recognition goes to all 9 players on the field in the closing minutes for their determination and never-say-die attitude to push for the equalizer amidst all of the obstacles and adversity put in front of them.