Mutiny offense frustrated in 1-0 loss to defending East champions
The defending East Conference champion New Jersey Copa FC (7-1-1) held the door open for the New England Mutiny (5-3) at Saint John Vianney High School, but the visitors did not walk through and take advantage of a pair of first half scoring chances in a 1-0 road loss. Instead, a familiar nemesis haunted the Mutiny as 2016 UWS Player of the Year Krystyna Freda tallied the game-winning goal. Former New England goalkeeper Kristyn Shea notched the shutout for Copa while Gabby Arruda picked up the loss for the visitors.
With a 5-3 record, the Mutiny are not yet mathematically eliminated from the two-team East Final to be played on Tuesday, July 18th but need to win their remaining two games.
The Mutiny started out the match in bright fashion, as forward Brenna Brown was sent in on a 1v1 with Shea but the former Providence College shot-stopper deflected away her opportunity. Just a few minutes later, Shea again snuffed out a New England scoring chance, flying out of goal to intercept a deep cross from the left flank. New Jersey grew into the match with a pair of chances in the 19th and 21st minutes but what appeared to be a harmless long ball for the Mutiny defense instead resulted in the lone goal of the match.
In the 22nd minute, Copa defender Rebecca Raber cleared a ball out of her half but the New England defense misjudged the flight of the ball and Freda jumped on the bouncing ball, beating Arruda to it and chipping her shot over the Mutiny keeper for the 1-0 lead. New England had a gilt-edged scoring chance just four minutes later, but captain Kate Howarth could not tuck her shot under the crossbar on a 1v1 breakaway. The score would remain at 1-0 in NJCFC’s favor going into halftime and the second half would witness a midfield war between both teams.
After a free kick opportunity from New Jersey midfielder Jackie Bruno in the 65th minute, the New England attack steadily saw more joy in the Copa half of the pitch. Central defender Allyson Swaby moved up into the attack and her strong presence kept possession for the Mutiny. Shea saved forward Abby Sotomayor’s long-range shot in the 71st minute and than in the 77th minute, Swaby set up midfielder Michelle Weinecke at the top of the box but her blast was corralled. In the 86th minute, Shea smartly ran out of goal to snuff out Howarth’s final scoring chance for the visitors.