The Albany boys’ soccer team knows where it wants to go, and has a host of veteran players eager to get there.
Schenectady, hit hard by graduation, still is having some trouble with the bumps in the road.
Stefano Sainato, a returning Big 10 all-star, scored three goals when the teams met Tuesday at Schenectady, helping the Falcons to a 5-1 win and a 3-0-0 start in league play.
Given that his team includes veterans of last year’s group that lost out to Troy for the league title in the final days of the season, Falcons coach David Weiss took the win for what it was.
“The game shouldn’t have been in doubt at halftime,” said Weiss, citing several good chances that his team missed. “We had a couple of headers we should have put away, and had a couple of chances where we were wide, got a shot and pushed it past the far post.
“Things like that, we have to take care of. We have some very talented players, but we have to finish.”
Sainato put away a pass from Tong Mathayo to give the visiting Falcons the lead, but the Patriots answered when sophomore Andrew Cyr pounced on a shot that was not handled cleanly by Albany goalie Lucas Phayre-Gonzalez.
“I like playing Schenectady because they play fast, they play physical and they keep coming,” said Weiss. “And they have three very skilled players that you always need to be aware of.”
That trio — seniors Junior Sodre, Emanuel Nelson and Bebeto Roberts — was pretty much kept in check by the Falcons, and Nelson missed a good portion of the first half when he went down hard after challenging Falcons’ defender Grant Dias-Carlson, his left shoulder and head taking the brunt of a fall to the artificial turf.
Those big three being held off the board took away any chance of Schenectady matching the Falcons, goal for goal.
“Overall, we’re pretty young and inexperienced,” said Schenectady coach Terry Sloan. “Everybody knows about the those three, but we lost all of our defense from last year.
“I threw a freshman and two sophomores back there when practice started, and it’s been on-the-job training for them. We still don’t get a lot of kids who play soccer year-round. We’ve got kids who play more than one sport. It takes time to get everyone working together on the same page.”
Albany broke Schenectady’s will with goals from Tyler Stempsey and Sainato, goals that came within two minutes of each other midway through the second half.
Stempsey, a 6-foot-2 junior, came up from his spot in central defense and headed home a free kick from Marty Ryan, and Sainato tucked a 30-footer under the crossbar.
Austin Villela and Sainato added goals later in the half.
“We got the goal back in the first half and we were back in it:” said Sloan. “The second and third goals really hurt.”
Coming on the heels of a 3-1 loss to Troy, the Patriots are 2-2 in the league, 3-3-0 overall.
“I think we’re still a good team,” said Schenectady captain Halim Abdullah, a hard working central midfielder who shadowed Ryan,
second in the Big 10 all-star voting in 2010, all game. “We lost a lot of seniors from last year’s team, but when I look at this team, I think it’s at least as good as last year.
“We just have to keep working hard, and focus on playing together.”
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Categories: -Sports, High School Sports