Queens, NY, July 5, 2022 – Queensboro FC II and Oyster Bay United had only faced off once before this past week, in April, with Queensboro walking away from the match with a 1-0-win courtesy of our #11 Damien Barker.
Heading into Saturday’s championship fixture against Oyster Bay, Coach Diego Gomez made two adjustments from the semi-final starting lineup, as that contest left both #45 Daniel Alzate and #5 Fernando Cohate injured and thus unfit to start again. Replacing Alzate was a familiar face, our former #1, Pol Rodriguez. #31Joshua Saavedra, who debuted in last Saturday’s seismic 6-1 win against Philadelphia Lone Star FC, replaced Cohate in his first start for Queensboro.
Saavedra wasted no time in making his presence known on the pitch, as he opened scoring in the fourth minute after shaking his defender and meeting a perfectly placed near post corner from #23 Minguk Seo in the air. 1-0 Queens.
The ensuing 15 minutes would see Oyster Bay turn up the pressure, maintaining spells of possession in our half, but falling short in the final third. In the 21st minute however, #14 Jonathan Santillan and #11 Damien Barker put on a display of excellent counter attacking football, combining for a give-and-go that started at the half line and ended with Barker open at the top of the 18. Barker proceeded to send the opposing keeper the wrong way, calmly tucking the ball into the far corner. 2-0 Queens.
Despite the two-goal deficit, Oyster Bay refused to make things easy. After many attacking opportunities thwarted by the Queensboro defense, they would steal one back with just under ten minutes in the half. 2-1 Queens.
Queensboro was quick to respond, as 2 minutes later #2 Moussa Diara threaded a ball from the right side between two defenders straight into the path of a forward charging Seo, who struck the ball into the bottom corner. Before celebrations could begin, the linesman called the play offside. After some continued back and forth, including a massive 1 on 1 save from Rodriguez in the 42nd minute, the half ended 2-1.
Queensboro would once again open scoring remarkably early, taking only 48 seconds before putting the ball in the back of the net. #14 Jonathon Santillan received the ball off a throw-in at the 25-yard line, turned and took on the man in front of him, and continued forward past another defender to his right, while muscling through one on his left. With the space he created for himself in the box, he rifled the ball past the oncoming goalkeeper and into the roof of the net. 3-1 Queens.
The remainder of the half would see Oyster Bay attempting to use their physicality to claw back into the game, trying to exploit the age difference between the two sides. Their best chances would all come in a flurry late in the game, giving Rodriguez a couple of opportunities to show his class in net. He wouldn’t have to do it all on his own though, as Diarra tracked back for a goal line clearance in the 78th minute.
Despite Oyster Bay’s best efforts, the excellent technical ability and defensive structure of Queensboro would prove to be too insurmountable of a challenge. Our boys in purple and black held on to the lead and hoisted the UPSL Northeast division trophy after the final whistle. Hard fought and well earned.
Head Coach of QBFC II, Diego Gomez on his team performance: “The final was perfect environment for the players development. A game that is all or nothing, with fans from both teams and vs a Top opponent. We not only play well but also we had the capacity to suffer and to grind when it was needed. I can not be more proud of the team. Also winning one of the best divisions in UPSL in our first season with such a young team is an achievement we are very proud off”.
QBFC II will travel to Boston on July 9th to face Santa Cruz FC at 4PM in the first round of the UPSL national championship at Veterans Memorial Stadium.