Monday May 30th - University of Southern Maine, Gorham.
Seacoast Mariners extended their unbeaten run to three games when a last minute winner sealed all three points against the Brooklyn Italians on a warm Memorial Day afternoon. Yusef Yama found himself in a 1 on 1 close to the half way line following a long defensive clearance from Sean Shand. Yama outmuscled his defender sending him to the ground, and sped off to round the keeper before calmly slotting the ball into an empty net with only seconds remaining in regulation. It was poor defending from the Italians and they were left to rue a number of squandered chances earlier in the match.
The game started brightly for the New Yorkers and only two very smart saves in the opening seven minutes from Mariners keeper Will Pike prevented an early deficit. Gradually, the Mariners began to get into the game as holding midfielders Marc Goulet and Jamie Reed saw more of the ball bringing their strikers and wide men into the game, however no breakthrough was forthcoming.
The second half was pretty even in terms of possession, but it was the Italians who created the better chances. On three more occasions, Pike made outstanding saves to deny the breakthrough leaving the Brooklyn coaches tearing their hair out. The Italians had set off for the weekend double header hoping to cement second place behind the NY Cosmos. However on Sunday they lost 1-0 to bottom team Seacoast United Phantoms, giving Monday's holiday game even more meaning.
Despite holding a 9-3 shot advantage, there was no way past their nemesis Will Pike and for the third time he gave them fits to earn man of the match honors. The Mariners used all 17 squad members to pace themselves over the 90 minutes, leaving head coach Jim Hopkins thrilled to pick up all three points: "There is no doubt we rode our luck at times and that we also relied several times on the skills of the Pike in net, however, we fought our way back into game after a slow start and gave a much better account of ourselves after the first fifteen or so minutes".
He continued: "I had the feeling Yama's pace would cause them problems in the final quarter of the game, but when I saw him one v one on the halfway line with just seconds remaining, I couldn't believe my eyes. Once he beat his man, it was all over and he took his chance beautifully.
"We are still learning to play together and we need to trust each other more, but we are a new group of players and we are just four games into the season so things are only likely to get better. 7 points out of 9 against the Cosmos and the Italians is certainly an achievement and we are excited to build from here".