Edgewater Castle FC faced many hard battles this week, with the Rooks coming out unscathed in some and in defeat in others.
Women’s First Team vs. Cincinnati Sirens FC: 2-2 Tie
61' J. Islas
86' D. Lucas
Men’s First Team vs. Rockford FC: 1-1 Tie
70' Q. Benedetto
Men's First Team vs. United Serbian SC: 3-1 L
5' E. Dagatti
Men’s NSL Team vs. Galacticos FC: 4-0 W
10' L. Hettinger
20' A. Jatto
35' A. Aguilar
37' C. Diaz
The Women's First Team's starting line-up poses before the start of their home opener Saturday night. Credit: Gareth Mullins
Women's First Team
The Women's First Team managed to score a 2-2 tie against the Cincinnati Sirens at their home opener Saturday night at the Fire Pitch in a strong second-half rally.
Rooks player Jackie Tamas prepares to get the ball to her teammates as goalie Nicole D'Agostino watches on. Credit: Miles Whitworth (whirltwirlmedia.com)
As soon as the game started, the pitch was in complete uproar against a backdrop of over 300 fans. A choir of drums and horns from Rooks fans made for the perfect soundtrack for solid defensive play; efforts by in the midfield by Rooks players like Jackie Tamas and continuous goal-blocking by goalie Nicole D'Agostino kept the game scoreless at the end of the first half.
Women's First Team players and Assistant Coach Emily Witt talk about the game at halftime. Credit: Gareth Mullins
At the end of the half, Rooks players gathered themselves together to talk strategy. During the meeting, players across the bench gave comments and suggestions to each other, demonstrating the strong sense of community the players have with each other.
Jacelyn Islas celebrates her goal with her fellow Rooks. Credit: Miles Whitworth (whirltwirlmedia.com)
As the second half commenced, the Sirens came out swinging, scoring at 55'. A quick meeting on the field was called, and the Rooks reminded themselves that the United Women's Soccer League viewed them as underdogs. Using that as a motivator, Rooks scorer Jacelyn Islas soon answered the Siren's score, landing a beauty of a goal at 61', rushing past the strong defense the Sirens were imposing and blasting in the rebound after Nahla Dominguez's shot hit the underside of the bar.
The Sirens quickly rallied, scoring against the rooks at 66', deafening the crowd. The Rooks, however, were and were ready to bring the fight to the visitors.
Darien Lucas blazes past a Sirens defender. Credit: Oscar Aguilar (https://www.instagram.com/boxcar_creative/)
A back and forth battle commenced for the rest of the game. Possession of the ball kept passing from the Rooks to the Sirens, with every play from either being defused by their defenses. As the game clock neared 90', and after star midfielder Flower Edington was removed from the game after suffering an injury on the field at 71', all hope for a comeback looked slim.
Darien Lucas celebrates with teammates after her score. Credit: Miles Whitworth (whirltwirlmedia.com)
However, a superb offensive shift at the closing minutes of game saw Rooks player Darien Lucas score at 86'. Lucas scored after beating the Sirens' backline following a free kick and launching the ball into the net with a powerful header.
A free kick denial by Dags at 90' sealed the deal, and the Rooks pulled off an amazing comeback in the dying embers of their opener and their first ever match in United Women's Soccer.
Hyping up the team after their victory, Rooks player Daphne Lyketsos was gleaming.
"We are a physical team and we are showing up and I love it," she said. "We showed [the Sirens] what was up; they won [a national] championship 4 years in a row, and we shocked them!"
Head Coach Tristin Möller celebrates after the win. Credit: Miles Whitworth (whirltwirlmedia.com)
Putting it simply, Rooks head coach Tristin Möller said what was on the minds of every happy Rooks fan leaving the Fire Pitch:
"We can play!"
The Women's First Team now looks forwards to their next game on June 3rd at 7 PM against Indiana Union at the Fire Pitch. To get tickets, click this link: https://app.fanbaseclub.com/Fan/Tickets/SelectType?fixtureId=2717
The Men's First Team's starting line-up poses before the start of their game against United Serbian SC in Milwaukee Sunday evening, debuting their new away kits. Credit: Gareth Mullins
Men's First Team
The Men's First Team faced a packed schedule this weekend, facing both Rockford FC at Wyeth Stadium in Rockford Saturday and United Serbian SC at St. Save Church Field in Milwaukee in the USASA Amateur Cup playoffs.
Rooks player Q Benedetto poses for an official headshot. His efforts Saturday secured the Rooks tie. Credit: Erika Mariscal (https://www.behance.net/erikamariscals)
At Wyeth Stadium, the Rooks tied Rockford FC 1-1 thanks to a penalty kick scored by Rooks player Q Benedetto.
The momentum of the game was in the hands of Rockford at first, with them scoring 28 minutes in after multiple chances at goal. Despite the offensive onslaught, Edgewater Castle goalie and current Loyola University Chicago student player Aidan Crawford kept Rockford at bay, keeping the game within reach.
As soon as the second half started, the Rooks woke up and brought the fight to Rockford. Multiple goal attempts were created at the start of the second, and the ingredients were there for the Rooks to score.
Efforts were put on pause however at 62'. Rooks' forward/striker Murtadha Kamil got ejected from the game after two yellow cards, leaving the Rooks one man down.
However, even with being without a full squad, the Rooks pressed forward, leading to Benedetto receiving a penalty kick at 70'. Substitute kicker Chris Reynoso made the kick, securing the tie.
The Rooks head home from St. Sava Church Field in Milwaukee after a long weekend. Credit: Gareth Mullins
The day after their tie, the Rooks headed up to Wisconsin to face United Serbian SC as a part of the USASA Amateur Cup playoffs, losing 3-1.
After arriving to the pitch at the scheduled kickoff of 5:30, miscommunication from the USASA led to no referees being at the game as agreed upon, leading to much confusion from players and coaches. The game eventually started at 6:12, over half an hour after players were already warmed up and ready to play.
Despite the delay, the Rooks started strong thanks to an amazing goal by Enzo Dagatti pushing his way up the field. He kept playing great until suffering an injury in the middle of the first half, suffering an injury to his ankle.
The Rooks prepare to defend against United Serbians SC. Credit: Gareth Mullins
After Dagatti's goal, however, things started to take a turn for the worse as the Rooks were running out of steam. Despite the game being a cup game, with a trip to Detroit being on the line, players on the pitch seemed to lack the energy needed to win. United Serbia scored their three in the first half, scoring at 15', 22', and 30'.
Q Benedetto, after winning the game for the Rooks the day prior and put on rest, had to step into the game for Gabriel Masalu after he was also taken out of commission. He gave it his all, playing solid defensively despite the squad being tired after Saturday's play.
"We're walking [around the pitch], said Benedetto. "We're waking and [United Serbian players] are beating us in one v ones."
The Rooks talk about the game and their struggles at halftime. Credit: Gareth Mullins
During the game, the Rooks questioned the calling of the referee staff as well, especially in the second half where the United Serbians were playing very physically. Towards the end of the half, as the Rooks were trying to score, the United Serbians were tackling late within their box, and referees were not calling for penalty kicks.
Even with the problems on the field, some positives off the field were found. William Acheampong, a player from Ghana that has been in America for the past 4 months, recognized a player from United Serbians SC that he played with in his home country and catching up with him after the game, a light at the end of a tough weekend for the Rooks.
"We remembered each other, and I saw him after the game. He even offered me a beer," Acheampong said with a chuckle.
The Men's First Team now looks to their next game on May 27th at 8:30 PM against Chicago City SC at the Fire Pitch. To get tickets, click this link: https://app.fanbaseclub.com/Fan/Tickets/SelectType?fixtureId=2646
Edgewater Castle's NSL Team meets to discuss gameday strategies. Credit: Justin Timm
Men's NSL Team
The Men's NSL Team had a great game against Galacticos FC Sunday evening, beating them 4-0 at Wilson Turf Field.
The Rooks came out swinging in the first half, thanks to scores by Liam Hettinger (10') Abiodun Jatto (20'), and Andy Aguilar (35'). Cutting through their defense thanks to their offensive shifts, the Rooks started strong.
Major Hassan was a major help to Hettinger, Jatto, and Aguilar too, giving them 3 assists in the first half. His plays ensured that the Rooks scored high against their competition.
Christian Díaz also scored against Galacticos at 37', ensuring that the Rooks would win the day right after Aguilar's goal.
Rooks Goalie Martin Rosas also had a Clean Sheet, stopping the Galacticos from scoring at every turn. His efforts made the convincing win from the Rooks even more so as they look ahead to their future competition; the large goal differential in the match ensured a 3rd place standing in the NSL Chicago division.
The Rooks continue to move forwards to their next competition on June 4th at noon against the Berber City FC Reserves at Wilson Turf Field.