Mutiny drop points once again at home, allow two second half goals
The New England Mutiny hosted the New York Surf at Agawam High School on a beautiful Saturday evening for soccer in western Massachusetts. The Mutiny (2-1-2) came out of the gates on the front foot against the Surf (1-3-2) but in the second half were left on their heels as the visitors upended a 2-0 halftime lead in the eventual 2-2 draw. After an inspiring come-from-behind victory in their season opener against UWS East leaders Connecticut (3-2), New England has only registered one win in their last four and have surrendered a lead in two of three home games.
"We've had four straight uninspiring performances now," said Mutiny team owner Joe Ferrara, Jr. "We need to be better."
The Mutiny held the run of play in the first half and finally managed to out-weave the Surf defense, who had four players packed in tight in the center of the pitch. Forward Sydney Brackett was especially vibrant, forcing New York goalkeeper Colleen Hickey to tip her shot to the cross bar in the 29th minute. Just a minute later, New England defender Elena Santos broke behind the Surf defense on the right flank and served in a low cross. Brackett hammered home her one-timer for the 1-0 lead. In the 33rd minute, midfielder Melina Couzis got behind the defense and was fouled by Hickey. Team captain Kate Howarth cooly slotted home the penalty kick for the 2-0 score.
As the second half wore on, New York slowly began to take control of the match. Surf forward Furtuna Velaj was strong at receiving the ball with her back to goal and bringing in her teammates for runs down the flanks. Mutiny keeper Lysianne Proulx was forced to make a great save in the 65th minute, tipping the ball to the bar and out for a corner kick. She forcefully corralled the ball on the corresponding corner kick. But two minutes later, a New York player broke the left flank and served in a dangerous cross that the New England defense could not contain and went over the line for an own goal. The Mutiny responded immediately with scoring opportunities from midfielder Charlie Branch and Howarth.
Surf goalkeeper Jamie Block parried away Howarth's blast in the 70th minute to keep her team in the game. Seven minutes later, New York tied the game courtesy of Velaj. Proulx could only watch as she received the ball at the top of the penalty area and was allowed to turn and fire her shot inside the post for the game-tying goal. New England tried to get all three points and almost did in the 87th minute. Midfielder Yo Tachibana played Brackett in on goal with a nicely weighted pass but the Mutiny could not finish the move and both teams settled for the draw. The good news for New England is that Connecticut lost their road game at the Inferno Rush, so the Mutiny still hold on to second place in the UWS East alongside Rochester (2-1-2), who defeated Long Island (2-2-1) by a 2-1 score on Saturday as well.