Mass United could not fully recover from losing their keeper to a red card, dropping a 3-2 decision to New York Athletic Club (NYAC) at Manning Field on Sunday night in National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) play. The Riders cut two-goal deficits in half twice but having unfulfilled scoring opportunities reach double-digits would keep them from pulling even.
The young game was turned on its head in the 11th minute when United keeper Babacar “Babs” Njie was shown a red card and NYAC awarded a penalty after a foul made trying to recover from mishitting a backpass. (Was it deserved? Hard to say from my vantage point, but someone with a better view suggested a yellow card may have been more fitting.) With no other keepers available to to man the net, United captain John Bavota was called in to service, performing more than admirably. NYAC’s Peter Nolan converted the PK in the 16th minute and United was once again playing from behind.
After a couple minutes (if that) of adjusting United took control of the flow of play and only relinquished that control for short stretches or individual plays for the rest of the first half. It was one of those individual plays, in stoppage time no less, that put United farther in the hole. A nicely worked breakaway left NYAC’s Henning Sauerbier alone to the left of goal, which he took advantage of by putting a well placed shot into the far top corner and making it 2-0 for the visitors.
The second half started, and ended, with United applying pressure and threatening the visitor’s goal. But the pressure didn’t paid off until the 78th minute when United forward Carlos “Bebeto” Diniz got the Riders on the board. United came within inches of tying it up in the 89th minute but Denivaldo DaSilva‘s free kick slammed off the post. A quick counter and goal by NYAC’s Justin Orden would prove to be the game-winner however, also in the 89th minute. United would pull back to within a goal one minute later when Marcus Pizzetti put one home. The final play of the game was also one of the most frustrating with a header from Diniz going just wide moments before the final whistle.