Goals from Tachibana & Howarth skewered by late equalizer
It was a cold and rainy Saturday night at East Longmeadow High School as the New England Mutiny (1-0-1) and Rochester Lady Lancers (1-0) took the pitch. It was a bit of ominous foreboding as New England never warmed to the conditions while Rochester picked up steam as the match rolled on in a 2-2 draw. The Lady Lancers equalized the score in the 90th minute on a counterattack goal by Erin Eklund to steal a win away from the Mutiny in a match where the visitors could've taken all three points.
"Rochester was better than us in all phases of the match tonight," said New England Mutiny owner Joe Ferrara, Jr.
The match opened with New England holding the edge in play as the teams slugged it out in a midfield war. Twenty minutes in, midfielder Brenna Brown broke in on Rochester goalkeeper Kenna Kosinski (four saves) but she was forced wide and captain Kate Howarth had her scoring opportunity fly wide of the right post just a few minutes later. From there, Rochester took hold of the run of play as Isabella Hohler's shot after a corner kick clearance hit the top of the crossbar in the 30th minute.
Seven minutes later, Lady Lancers player/coach Brooke Barbuto's free kick from the right flank caromed off the outside of the post for a goal kick. Sydney Brackett notched the only shot on goal in the first half for the Mutiny in the 39th minute before being substituted for Yo Tachibana, as she deftly turned and fired her shot at goal but it was blocked over the cross bar for a corner kick. The home side had work to do at halftime as the visitors were on the front foot, passing and defending with more cohesion and precision.
New England attempted to create offensive momentum at the start of the second half, as Tachibana and Howarth combined at top of penalty area in the 50th minute, but the latter's shot flew wide of the right post. Rochester got their lead in the 56th minute as Jada Sergeant finished off a loose ball in the penalty area after a trademark counterattack. That goal seemed to spur the Mutiny on, and in the 65th minute, Kelly Halligan (in her first appearance for New England) fired a shot that Kosinski tipped wide.
In the 80th minute, Howarth equalized after Lady Lancers defender Rian McMullen couldn't head Brenna Brown's pass away from danger. The team captain ran on to the ball and finished low under Kosinski. Five minutes later, the Mutiny went ahead when Marissa Aniolowski's cross from the right flank met Tachibana's head at the near post. The ball flew inside the far post for the 2-1 lead. Another counterattack doomed New England in the final seconds as Eklund beat Mutiny keeper Lysianne Proulx (two saves) to Mariah Williams' cross from the right flank.