Michael Traynor is about to chip one over the keeper for a goal just 42 seconds in.
Rye High Boys’ Soccer
Garnets Put it All Together in 3-1 Win over Yorktown
By Mitch Silver
The Lakeland Summer League is often an indicator of which teams will rise to the top when Section 1 play begins in the fall. This year, the leading teams included Somers, John-Jay East Fishkill, Briarcliff, Yorktown, and the champs from Rye High.
Now, with a month gone in the 2019 campaign, the Journal-News ranks Somers third among the teams in the section and John Jay-EF, a Class AA team, seventh. Briarcliff is top-rated in Class B and Yorktown entered Saturday’s game with Rye in the top 15 of all the high schools in Westchester and Rockland. Unfortunately for the Huskers, their hosts—the 9-1 Garnets—are currently sitting atop the Class A rankings. And they played like it.
Forty-two seconds into the game, Rye’s Michael Traynor took a throw-in from co-captain Jonathan Mehrara. Faking out the last defender, Traynor controlled the ball just outside the penalty box to the keeper’s extreme right. When the goalie came out to cut down his shooting angle, he neatly chipped the ball over his head and into the net. Rye 1, Yorktown 0.
Thirteen minutes later, Traynor slipped the ball to classmate Kevin Abbondanza, whose shot hit the crossbar before bounding away. Two minutes later, the three Garnets combined again. Abbondanza did a nice little dance near the end line to keep the ball in play before passing it to Mehrara. The defender’s cross found Traynor, and his looping header floated tantalizingly over the keeper once more to double Rye’s margin.
Meanwhile, Rye’s midfielders and wingbacks left their keeper, Jasper Nusbaum, with little to do. Mehrara on the left side and junior Nic Logan on the right were a step quicker than their opposite numbers from up-county, leading to a decided edge in possession. The Arslan brothers, Arda and Ata, and stalwart Malcolm McQueeney in the middle held their opponents to just five shots on net all afternoon.
Rye would go ahead 3-0 when Logan received a pass ten yards in from the right sideline. Cutting in on goal, he juked past two defenders and slotted the ball in with a neat side-footed tap. If Head Coach Jared Small and Assistant Jonathan Tuttle could have dreamed up an ideal 40 minutes of play, this was it.
The intensity dropped a little in the second half. The Garnets started banging the ball deep instead relying on the pinpoint passing they’d managed earlier. Still, even Yorktown’s lone goal, when it came, was a little fluky. The Hukers’ George Popovich sent striker Timmy O’Callaghan in on goal alone. Nusbaum probably would have stopped his shot, but Mehrara attempted a sliding block and, instead, deflected the ball into the net.
Given new life from the score, Yorktown made a game of it with both teams wilting a little in the afternoon sun. Coach Small would say afterwards, “We made a few more substitutions in the second half than we ordinarily would have, trying to keep everyone as fresh as possible.”
Jake Creus narrowly missed on a free kick with 24 minutes to play. The Huskers managed some nice play on the wings, but couldn’t connect with O’Callaghan & Co. as they flooded the box.
The 3-1 win was Rye’s third straight after a 1-0 home defeat to league co-leader Byram Hills September 19. The streak has seen the Garnets outscore the opposition 18-4.
Rye travels to Harrison Thursday to take on the rival Huskies at 6 p.m. Then it’s back home Saturday when they host another league foe, Eastchester, at 3.