By Anthony Mauro
Red Bank – After 90 minutes and two overtimes, neither the Monmouth Regional Falcons nor the Red Bank Regional Bucs could get that one final ball to the back of the net to break their 1-1 tie.
RBR came out looking strong as they dominated ball possession for much of the first half. They remained persistent and racked up numerous scoring chances. About a third of the way through the first half the Bucs took the first lead of the game as Charley Garzon fired in a goal from just inside the 18.
While Monmouth Regional appeared to be outsized, they made up for it in hustle and good defense. Their scoring chances came few and far between in the first half, but their competitive spirit was able to keep the game tight. There were several close opportunities for the Bucs to get the ball in the net, but whether it was a misfire or save; the Falcons were able to cling on to their one goal deficit through the end of the first half.
“I think we have a little bit of tournament fever, thinking about Manalapan instead of Monmouth. Our bench was a little short. Our goalkeeper has bronchitis, our starting midfielder has bronchitis. I think both seniors out of the game had a little to do with it. And I think the frustration level kept rising because it should have been 5 or 6 to nothing at halftime,” said RBR coach Sean Reid.
The Falcons came onto the field in the second half with a lot more intensity. The Bucs still had a lot of shots on net but the Falcons limited the Bucs’ good opportunities with the continuation of solid defense and a concentrated effort on controlling the ball. This eventually led to a Monmouth Regional goal about midway through the second period to tie the game at one a piece.
RBR seemed to be on the attack with the goal of winning the game in regulation following Monmouth’s game tying score. However, the Falcons were able to hold off the Bucs’ late offensive threat, especially with a huge save just before the end of regulation.
Throughout the two overtimes the teams matched up well against each other as the level of competitiveness heightened. The extra time was very back and forth with plenty of nail biting plays. A header from the Bucs on a cross pass just missed the top of net to make the crowd gasp. However, both teams stood their ground and refused to let in a game-winning goal.
“18 to 18, I think we played well. We attacked well. We got numbers forward. We were solid in the back. But unless you score in this game you can’t win. We’ve got to finish,” said Reid.
As the Bucs look towards their first round matchup in the Shore Conference Tournament against Manalapan, Coach Reid remains extremely confident. “We just need to continue to play and build on the positives and I think we’ll be fine. Our goal is to be holding a trophy on November 20 and we’re more than capable. We’ve got a lot of tough opponents: Holmdel, Rumson, Shore. All teams that are quality and capable of winning but we’ve played all of them and we’ve played them head to head, so it’s going to be the best team on that day and I like our chances,” said Reid.