Jun 11, 2016   EAST LONGMEADOW, MA

Stephanie SantosScoring outburst to open second half propels Mutiny to victory

Old adversaries met on the pitch for the first time in 15 years at East Longmeadow High School, as the New England Mutiny hosted the Long Island Rough Riders in a United Women’s Soccer (UWS) East conference match. It turned out to be a tale of two halves, with the Rough Riders (1-2-1) controlling the opening 45 minutes while the Mutiny (3-1) did a little bit more in the second half, winning by a 3-2 score.

Team captain Kate Howarth led the scoring in the tense victory, notching two goals to bring her season total up to six - including the game-winner in the 53rd minute. New England were down by 2-1 score at halftime, and scored two goals in the first eight minutes of the second half.

“The first half was definitely a different world than the second half,” said Mutiny Head Coach Joe Abele. “In the first half, the chemistry wasn’t there and you could definitely see it. We made a few changes, started connecting passes and started building up play. We carried it into the second half and we were happy to finally get it together at the right time.”

The game opened on a promising note for New England, as Howarth took advantage of a defensive miscue by Long Island in the 5th minute. The former Boston Breaker dribbled around Rough Riders goalkeeper Melissa Guglielmo and slotted the ball into the far corner for the early 1-0 lead. But from there, Long Island would take control of the run of play. Alexa Schneider would beat the Mutiny defense to the ball on a free kick from the right flank by Krista Fitzpatrick in the 12th minute, and 14 minutes later, the Rough Riders would go up 2-1 on a great individual effort from Christina Bellero.

The Saint John’s forward picked up the ball 25 yards from goal on the right flank, dribbled past a number of defenders and deposited her shot past Mutiny goalkeeper Anne-Marie Ulliac inside the far post. New England would pressure the Long Island goal at the end of the half, but the visitors would deservedly have the lead. The Mutiny allowed the Rough Riders to possess the ball and surrendered a goal on a set piece.

“To give one up on a set piece, that’s something we’re going to have to work on this week,“ said Abele.

The second half would see the home side pick up the pace of play. Anais Chareyron would pressure the Rough Riders defense on what seemingly was an innocuous ball but she would tap it into the heart of the penalty area. Stephanie Santos battled for the ball with a Long Island defender and buried her shot in the empty net for the 2-2 score in the 49th minute.

Four minutes later, Abby Sotomayor fed Charlie Branch in on goal. Branch’s bid for a goal would be stymied by Guglielmo but Howarth pounced on the loose ball and hammered home her shot for the game-winner. In the 59th minute, Howarth found the side netting on her chance to put the game out of reach. Long Island had one quality scoring chance in the second half, but Ulliac would tip Morgan Santoro’s close-range shot over the cross bar.

“Kate’s been a stalwart for this organization for a few years now,“ said Abele. “The team came together and worked their butts off. They pulled goals back and did a great job at just playing good, hard, physical soccer. It was a great sight to see.”

The Mutiny will now embark on a four-game road trip. Next weekend, they travel to Iona College to face the New York Magic (0-2-1) on Saturday before Sunday’s match in northern New Jersey at the TSF Academy Valkyries (0-2-1).

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