Boys soccer rebounds after heartbreaking loss in county tournament


Colin Donahue

This past Tuesday, Oct.23, Union City paid a visit to Scotch Plains Fanwood for a late-season North Jersey showdown. The #13 ranked Union City had been hot, winning 5 games straight and outscoring their opponents 33-3 in those matches, including a 10-0 thrashing against Bayonne. The Union City team has made a substantial amount of noise this year, amassing a record of 12-5 in a very competitive Hudson County, with teams like Harrison, St. Peter’s Prep and Kearny.
The Raiders have had an odd week. Coming into the Union County Tournament semifinal, the Raiders seemed poised to win the entire tournament. The Raiders knocked off #17 Hunterdon Central two days earlier with a solid 2-0 win. But the magic wasn’t there for the Raiders last Saturday during the semi finals, where they failed to get a deciding goal in regulation and the game was forced into penalties, where Westfield won 8-7.
The game at Wexler field between the Raiders and Eagles on Tuesday got off to a quick start in the third minute. A corner whipped in by senior captain Michael Ferrara was mishandled by the Eagles goalkeeper and freshman forward Thomas Rodriguez found the ball and tucked it into the back of the net to give the Raiders a 1-0 advantage early on.
The game was largely in possession of the Raiders and they found their second breakthrough when senior Zidan Abdella played an excellent incisive pass to senior wing-back Adam Weiner. Weiner then skipped by a defender and played a simple ball into the box for senior Jonathan Koseoglu who made the game 2-0. Union City, however, did get one back with 10 seconds left in the first half and their first shot on goal: a nicely struck volley from outside the 18 yard box to make the score 2-1.
The second half started off with a bang similar to that of the first. In the 43 minute, SPF got caught out on a counter attacking play by Union City, forcing senior goalie Eric Refinski to make a huge save and forcing a corner. It was right back for the Raiders. Good attacking play led to a shot in the box by junior wing-back CJ Bunin, which again provoked another outstanding save from Union City’s goalkeeper forcing a corner. Still locked in at 2-1 with 20 minutes to play, Ferrara played a crafty ball to junior Alvaro Furfaro who found the net and sealed the game for the Raiders, with a final score of 3-1.
“We still had a bad taste in our mouths from Saturday night,” said Weiner. “It was nice to get a win before the state tournament started.”
The Raiders will play Plainfield on Thursday Nov. 1 at Wexler Field.