Edgewater Castle FC’s Men’s Teams ran into some roadblocks this week.
Men’s First Team vs. Chicago House AC: 3-1 L
81’ G. Cavalheiro
Men’s NSL Team vs. Juanacatlan FC Chicago Gorillas: 3-0 L
The Men's First Team walks to their fans after the game. Credit: Miles Whitworth (whirltwirlmedia.com)
Men’s First Team
The Men’s First Team struggled against Chicago House AC Saturday night at DePaul College Prep in a tough 3-1 loss.
"Q" Benedetto rushes to get the ball back from a House player. Credit: Miles Whitworth (whirltwirlmedia.com)
The Chicago Derby started off as a close match between the Rooks and House. Edgewater defenders like David Abidor and “Q” Benedetto restricted House’s play in the Rooks’ half, leading to scoring opportunities by midfielder Bardia Kimavi and forward Evangelo Spartiatis.
House would go on to have the first goal of the match. After a miscalculated throw from Rooks goalkeeper Jacob Altstadt at 5’, a House player was able to gain possession of the ball close to goal and send the ball soaring past Altstadt’s’s reach.
Bardia Kimiavi prepares to shoot the ball. Credit: Miles Whitworth (whirltwirlmedia.com)
Following the score, Kimiavi and Spartiatis each had multiple looks, but House’s back line and goalkeeper kept the Rooks away from tallying back.
Gustav Ericsson and "Q" Benedetto prepare to defend their net. Credit: Miles Whitworth (whirltwirlmedia.com)
Much of the rest of the first half was the same result. The Rooks kept the ball in House’s territory for the majority of the time, but House’s consistent defense and strong man-to-man coverage kept the Rooks at bay. Edgewater responded with long passes over House’s defense, but none were able to connect.
House scored a second time close to the end of the first half. At 42’, A House player ran upfield left, beating the Rooks’ defenders in the process. Close to the Rooks’ goal, the House player then laid a pass across the box to a teammate, who finished past Altstadt.
Andriy Berezovchuk looks on as the Rooks bring the fight to House. Credit: Miles Whitworth (whirltwirlmedia.com)
At half, Men’s First Team head coach Andriy Berezovchuk focused on addressing the team’s troubles with winning 1v1 clashes, keeping the home team’s players tightly marked, and pressing the ball up the field, tying the Rooks’ struggles with their lack of momentum and energy.
“This is a game that I cannot understand [why] we are losing,” said Berezovchuk. “Why are you afraid to play? You all can play and today you play like it's the first time.”
Evangelo Spartiatis fights for the ball in House territory. Credit: Miles Whitworth (whirltwirlmedia.com)
Back on the field, the struggles for the Rooks continued. House came out swinging, pinning the Edgewater defence back and; at 55’, House scored their third goal after a missed block by Benedetto led to an uncontested diagonal shot.
The Rooks attempted to show signs of a comeback, but a lack of communication amongst players, offsides positioning, and pressure in the midfield made their play fall flat. The speed of House in the second half also consistently forced the Rooks to reset their efforts to counter House’s play.
"Q" Benedetto poses with his injury after on-field collision. Credit: Gareth Mullins (https://www.instagram.com/garithimo/)
Disaster struck at 80’ as well when Benedetto was involved in a head-on collision with a House player. Benedetto suffered a cut on his head, leaving him bleeding with possible risk of concussion. With teammate and friend Roberto Cardano by his side for support, Benedetto talked about the moment.
“I’mma need stitches, I blacked out [right after the hit],” Benedetto explained.
With help from Rooks staff and players, Benedetto was taken to the hospital, where he is thankfully ok following the incident. Benedetto currently has no set date to return following the injury.
Gabriel Cavalheiro celebrates after his goal. Credit: Miles Whitworth (whirltwirlmedia.com)
Shortly after Benedetto’s exit, Rooks’ midfielder Gabriel Cavalheiro scored the Rook’s only score of the game at 85’. Kimiavi’s ball from the corner found Cavalheiro who redirected it into the far corner of the net for his first of the season.
Evangelo Spartiatis (middle left) poses with Rooks staff after receiving an honorary ECFC scarf before his departure. Credit: Sami Ismat
The game’s ending was not all doom and gloom, however; towards the end of the game, Evangelo Spartiatis was celebrated amongst teammates and staff for his accomplishments this season prior to his departure for Greece until next summer. We appreciate all of the hard work “Sparta” has done this season, and can’t wait to see him again soon!
The Men’s First Team now looks onwards to their final home game of the season against DeKalb County United at 7:30 pm on Saturday at the Fire Pitch.
The Men's NSL Team poses before their match. Credit: Jose Landa
Men’s NSL Team
The Men’s NSL Team suffered a 3-0 loss against Talara FC Reserves Sunday afternoon at Wilson Turf Field due to a lack of training due to weather and missing key players.
Lacking leaders on the field like Liam Hettinger, the Rooks allowed Talara to launch attack after attack against them. Talara was able to get close to the Rook’s goal multiple times early. The Rook’s goalkeeper Mason Meentz was there to make key saves, and the Rook’s defense held strong initially, anchored by defender Xander Bron.
The Rooks battle close to Talara's net. Credit: Gareth Mullins (https://www.instagram.com/garithimo/)
Bron, who was playing his last game before leaving the Rooks to go to college in the Netherlands, came onto the field wanting to end his time at Edgewater Castle FC on a high note. He did so with a key save at 13’, heading the ball on the goal line to send the ball in an unique direction away from danger.
“I was trying to hit it over the crossbar for the corner, but it hit the bar instead,” Bron chuckled on the sideline.
Despite Bron’s efforts, the Rooks did not have the efforts needed to score. Players like midfielder Christian Diaz provided good offensive pressure upwards, but were not able to secure a score due to Talara reading the Rooks’ offensive moves clearly and securing the ball when contesting for it.
Talara would score first towards the end of the first half at 41’ due to an unexpected error. A Talara player in left field managed to secure the ball off of a misplaced header by Rooks midfielder Ronny Rivera. With the ball, the player struck the ball passed Meents’s reach.
The Rooks and head coach Jose Landa discuss strategy. Credit: Gareth Mullins (https://www.instagram.com/garithimo/)
At half, many of the Rooks including Men’s NSL Team’s head coach Jose Landa felt that there was an intensity problem on the field. They felt that the Rooks weren’t bringing the energy they needed to secure the ball and win, leading to forward Justin Timm to motivate his teammates in their team huddle.
“Who’s going to be that guy to win the game,” Timm asked the team. “Who makes a shot? Do a tackle?”
After the half, things continued to look sour for the Rooks. Talara quickly beat the Rooks’ defenders at 51’ on the way to the Rooks goal using pure speed and ball control, leading to a one-on-one chance that Meentz couldn’t reach.
Talara would continue to prevent the Rooks’ efforts throughout the game, intercepting passes and continuing to pile on the pressure in key areas. At 81’, they sealed their 3-0 win with a well placed shot into the Rooks’ left corner.
Xander Bron for the last time as a Rook. Credit: Jose Landa
Even with the final result being what it was, Bron was still happy walking off the field his last time as a Rook.
“It is what it is, but I loved my time here,” Bron said.
We thank Xander for all of his hard work this season and are excited to see what he does in college and beyond!
Catch the Men’s NSL Team’s next game on Sunday at 4 pm against Juanacatlan FC Chicago at Wilson Turf Field.