WOODBRIDGE — With the way Amity and Foran were scoring the last few games, Wednesday afternoon’s boys’ soccer game seemed like a mismatch. But, as it is often said, that is why you play the game.
Scoring three times in the first half, Foran, which had scored just two goals in its last four games, beat previously-undefeated Amity 3-2 at Amity High.
“We knew they played last night,” Foran coach Rick DiStefano said after his team improved to 2-6-1. “We thought they would come out with a lot of energy early and tire later. They actually got stronger later.
“We had some good opportunities early. We capitalized in the first half. It was different last time we played them.”
The Lions, who avenged a 1-0 loss to Amity a handful of games ago, took advantage of what looked to be a sluggish Spartan team in the first half. Foran did not waste any time getting on the scoreboard and never looked back.
Julian Yuliawan set the tone of the game for the Lions when he took a feed from Cedrick Lingane and beat Amity goalkeeper Griffin Volta.
The Lions continued the pressure and were awarded a penalty kick 8 minutes, 27 seconds into the game. Yuliawan held true on the kick and once again beat Volta for a 2-0 Foran lead.
“Foran is a good team,” Amity coach Michael Marchitto said. “We warned the kids yesterday and again in warm-ups today, if we weren’t ready to play, this could happen. They put it to us in the first half.”
The Spartans, ranked No. 6 in the latest Class L-LL state coaches poll, seemed a step behind from the start and their only quality opportunity in the first 20 minutes came off a laser from Dean Schwartz that sailed wide from 20 yards out 16:30 into the game.
With Amity’s opportunity by the boards, Foran took a 3-0 lead with 16:40 left in the half. Yuliawan sent a kick in that was controlled by Justin Kassouf.
Kassouf’s perfect pass found Lingane, who beat Volta with a hard shot to the right side for a three-goal lead.
“He (Yuliawan) played with a lot of energy,” DiStefano said. “He took the first goal well and even the penalty kick he took well. He played well.”
The goal seemed to get the Spartans going as they had more opportunities to end the first half.
Simone Kanter fired over the goal from 30 yards out with 12:20 left and Nicholas O’Brien sailed a shot wide from 35 yards out 4 minutes later.
With 7:08 left in the first half, the game started to turn. Amity’s Kanter was given a red card, leaving the Spartans a man down. Amity still attacked as Matthew Whitehill hit the post from 10 yards out with 5 minutes left in the half and Carl Goldblatt was robbed by a diving save from Foran’s Timothy Orozco with 40 seconds left.
“I hope this is a wakeup call,” Marchitto said. “I thought we were getting too comfortable.”
Amity (8-1-2) started to gain momentum in the second half. With 3:18 gone by, Amity’s play with a man down ended as Foran’s Kassouf was also given a red card after Amity was awarded a penalty kick.
The Spartans capitalized when Schwartz fired a shot to the lower left corner past a diving Orozco, cutting the deficit to 3-1.
Amity then owned the rest of the half.
“I give the kids credit,” Marchitto said of Amity’s second-half effort.
Jeremy Conn was denied in front 35 seconds later and had his shot off a free kick punched away by Orozco 9:15 into the second half.
Amity cut the deficit to one goal with 17:41 remaining. Whitehill beat Orozco from 15 yards out with a nice angle shot to get Amity within 3-2.
“This is a huge win,” DiStefano said. “It gets us that much closer to our goal. Amity is a really good team. This is a big win. Hopefully, it gives us a lot of confidence.”
Orozco finished with eight saves for the Lions, while Volta had six saves for Amity.