HEMPSTEAD, NY – The New York Fury downed FC Indiana 2-0 on Thursday night at Hofstra University to complete their inaugural WPSL Elite season undefeated against the “bottom four.” Kim Yokers scored off a first-half corner kick and the hosts added a second in stoppage time on an Allie Long cross that appeared to deflect off an Indiana defender.
“I thought we played well, but I don’t know how we’re going to break down these good defenses in the playoffs,” Fury coach Paul Riley, clearly looking ahead a bit, said. “It might have to be only set pieces.”
It was a set piece that put the Fury on top. Merritt Mathias hit a low corner kick to Yokers who got it with the inside of her right foot and snuck it inside an unguarded right post. The coverage gaffe landed Darlene Beauciquot on the bench before a half hour was played.
“I was disappointed with our effort, especially early on,” Indiana coach Shek Borkowski said. “Obviously they’re better than us, but we didn’t compete against them at least in the first 45 minutes. I was disappointed with the mental approach we took to the game.”
Still the Fury’s continued inability to play crisp soccer in the attacking third kept the match close until the waning minutes. The Fury —w ho are expected to unveil a new mystery forward this weekend against the Red Stars — created several chances they were unable to finish. FC Indiana keeper Geralda Saintilus did her part with a sprawling save off Sinead Farrelly in the 52nd minute and later disrupted Farrelly on a chance created by Mathias.
Other chances were spoiled in different ways. A 73rd minute flurry included a Saintilus save and a defender scrambling to knock Brittany Taylor’s shot off the line. Later Taylor was sent through on expertly by Jasmyne Spencer only to have Saintilus intercept a return cross.
Finally in stoppage time Long — the Fury’s best player on the night — looped a ball towards the far post that took a few deflections before finding its way into the net.
“We talked about getting five tonight,” Riley said, speaking of a possible goal difference tie-breaker for first overall in the league. “Once we got to halftime one up I said there’s not shot we’re scoring five tonight. At that point you just go after the three points and win the game.”
The Fury (9-3-1, 28 points) finish the season Sunday at home against the Red Stars and will need a 5-0 win and a Flash-Breakers draw to finish the season in first place. Either way their spot is booked for Rochester next week where they know the games will be difficult.
“I don’t think it matters where you finish second, first, fourth, third,” Riley said. “I think all four teams realize nothing is going to be gained or lost on Sunday.”
To that end the two-time Women’s Professional Soccer Coach of the Year said, “We’re not showing any cards on Sunday.”
Indiana (1-10-2, 5 points) finish up Saturday at New England Mutiny.
“I would say it’s a semi-success,” Borkowski said of the WPSL Elite season that saw him use FC Indiana as an outlet for the National Team players he coaches with Haiti. “What these three months have (told us) is that we really only have five or six players that can consistently play at this level. So we’re reaching into the Haitian American communities and we’ll be looking at the U-20s and U-17s (later this year).”
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