(Central Jersey) - The Real Central NJ Soccer (RCNJ) men’s team fought hard in the rain, coming out with a much-needed three points against Lehigh Valley United on Saturday, June 19th. The team was able to fight through tough weather and come out with a win behind a “Player of the Match” performance by forward, Ibrahima Diop.
“I was happy to score that one very nice goal but, overall I am just happy to get back from injury and to start scoring again,” said Ibrahima Diop after the match.
“I think the boys played well; we had a great game plan and were able to battle through some tough moments,” said men’s head coach Patrick Snyder. “We are going to look to work taking more advantage of our opportunities, we created a lot tonight and would’ve loved to put away a few more to secure the win earlier.”
Real Central NJ brought the pressure early by constantly threatening the defense with numerous attacks. Eventually, the Lehigh Valley United defense broke down in the thirty-third minute when Diop played an incredible ball through to Wesley Legget who then dribbled around the keeper and smashed the ball into the back of the net. The pressure continued in the thirty-sixth minute when Ethan Shaw slotted a ball through which Wesley Leggett dummied allowing Diop to take a touch around his defender then smash the ball into the top right corner from twenty-five yards out for a spectacular finish.
Lehigh did not give up and was able to pull one back a few minutes before halftime which led to some nervy moments in the second half for the home side. However, RCNJ outshot Lehigh 4-2 in the half. The best chance came in the 78th minute when Diop found himself through on goal after chesting down a ball from Jack Borden and beating a center back but his right-footed shot went just wide of the left post.
On the defensive side, Real Central NJ was able to contain Lehigh Valley United and limited their attacks to difficult chances. Goalkeeper Max Blacker made multiple saves to help secure the three points for RCNJ. The best of those saves came in the fifty-first minute when Blacker made the save of the match - an impressive one-handed save diving high to his right to tip a shot from outside the box over the crossbar.
Real Central NJ is next at home Sunday, June 20th for the women against the NJ Wizards at 6 pm. The men next play at home on Wednesday, June 30th against Evergreen FC at 7 pm for their final home game of the season, which will be a doubleheader with the women taking on the Evergreen women’s side at 4:30 pm.