Tuxpan Unheaded in Men’s Soccer Final
F.C. Tuxpan, Antonio Chavez’s team, had not until Monday night won a 7-on-7 men’s soccer championship in 21 seasons, which is to say since the fall of 2007.
The way Tuxpan played in the final with Tortorella Pools at East Hampton’s Herrick Park that night you would have thought Tuxpan, not Maidstone Market, the tournament’s top seed, was the perennial power.
Tortorella, which had upset the Market owing to a one-touch goal by George Naula in the semifinal round, didn’t have a chance as the regular-season runners-up repeatedly beat defenders on their way to a 7-2 rout.
By the time Nick Escalante buried a shot with 10 minutes left in the first half, Tuxpan had already scored twice, and within the next few minutes it was to score twice more again to take a 4-1 lead into the halftime break.
Faustino Dominguez Meza, a hard-charging wing, had done most of the damage, recording a hat trick within the first 30 minutes of play. Donald Martinez, who largely controlled the center of the field, scored the other goal.
Tortorella, which was missing one of its chief defenders, Romulo Tubatan, who suffered a hamstring pull in the last game of the regular season, remained on the defensive in the second frame, though another goal by Escalante, who in the 34th minute converted a free kick in close taken by Leonel Uchupaille, picked up Tortorella’s spirits momentarily.
Several minutes later, Meza broke away again as Craig Caiazca, Tortorella’s goalie, rushed out to make what, for a moment, seemed to be a save, though following Meza and Caiazca’s collision the ball rolled back into the goal. Caiazca protested that there was contact after he’d had possession, though to no avail: 5-2 Tuxpan.
Tortorella’s hopes, albeit slim, were dashed even further when Escalante was ejected, apparently for undeleted expletives, leaving Tuxpan a man-up with 12 minutes left to play. Martinez made it 6-2 in the 53rd minute, and Meza capped the scoring with his fifth goal of the night, in the 54th.
Caiazca, who had been injured in his collision with Meza, came out with two and a half minutes left as Leslie Czeladko, Tortorella’s manager — and the league’s overseer — came in to replace him.
Besides Meza and Martinez, Tuxpan’s roster includes Pedro Agudelo, Justin Carpia, Jorge de los Santos, Alberto Carreto, Jose Gutierrez, Christian Neira, and Giovany Espinoza.
As aforesaid, Maidstone Market finished the regular season in first place, at 6-2-2, with Tuxpan at 6-4-0, Hampton Construction at 5-4-1, Tortorella at 4-4-2, Sag Harbor Industries at 3-6-1, and Hampton F.C.-Pool Shark at 3-7-0 following.
Hampton F.C.-Pool Shark won the spring season’s final in August, but, according to Czeladko, “quit playing” midway through the fall.
In other soccer news, East Hampton’s over-30 team, Hampton United, played to a 3-3 tie with Charruas 1950 at Hampton Bays High School Sunday, “an exciting game,” according to the team’s manager, Glen McKelvey, that Hampton United could have won in the final seconds had one of its players not missed a “sitter” (an easy scoring opportunity).
Gerard Lynch scored all of the locals’ goals, though one of them was an “own goal,” resulting from a mistake made by a defender near whom he was standing. One more game, with Celtic, and Hampton United, which is in fourth place at the moment among the first division’s nine Suffolk teams, will take the winter off before the spring half begins in March.
In still other soccer news, Nick West, a former East Hampton High School soccer star, finished the season as the nation’s leading scorer, with 30 goals. Messiah College, for which West plays in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division III, was knocked out of the playoffs by the University of Rochester in the Elite Eight round. West, who at one point this fall rode a 15-game scoring streak — tying an all-time D-III record — tallied Messiah’s goal in the 2-1 loss.
His 30 goals (the most among those playing D-I, D-II, and D-III collegiate men’s soccer in the United States this season) were the second most in Messiah’s history, one short of the single-season mark set by Adrian Oostdyke in 1973.
West and his fellow six seniors compiled a four-year record of 76-9-7, including trips to the Sweet 16 in 2016, the Elite Eight this year, and to the Division-III championship game, which Messiah won, last year.
In addition, West was named recently as the All-MAC Commonwealth’s offensive player of the year. All-American teams had as of this writing yet to be picked.