(Central Jersey) - The Real Central NJ Soccer (RCNJ) men’s USL League Two team refused to lose in the third home match of the season, fighting hard for its 3-1 victory against Philadelphia Lone Star on Wednesday, June 8th. Fans could feel the tension between RCNJ and Philly Lone Star emitting from the field as the match progressed and frustration between the two teams grew.
Goalkeeper Eric Wnorowksi went toe-to-toe with midfielder Marco Bla in the third minute, stepping far out of goal and diving, giving Bla the opportunity to run past him for the first goal of the game. A crowd of players from both teams fighting for the ball in the goal area ensued chaos and the miscalculated shot flew past the left goalpost.
Scoring opened up in the 11th minute for RCNJ with the assistance of “Player of the Match,”' attacker Stas Korzeniowski and midfielder Yiannis Panayides. Without hesitation, forward Hale Lombard ran onto a pass from Panayides and hit a powerful shot on the ground ball past goalkeeper Liam Smith. The first goal seemed to set the tone for the rest of the match as the intensity from RCNJ only seemed to increase as the first period advanced.
The second goal for RCNJ was scored in the 25th minute by Korzeniowski with a neat assist from Justin Brunow. Midfielder Jack Borden did a brilliant job in defense for the duration of the match with plenty of deflections, won headers, and preventing attackers from setting up for successful shots on goal.
This match was full of contact from Philadelphia Lone Star entering with 49 fouls from matches prior to last night’s and earning an additional 13 against RCNJ, awarding the home team with plenty of free kicks. There was no shortage of cards issued during the match with four yellow going to both teams for reckless plays and unsportsmanlike behavior, as well as two red cards being issued in the 66th minute to Philly Lone Star’s midfielder Patrick Singbah and head coach Fatoma Turay.
RCNJ forward Justin Brunow commented, “it’s always a big problem in games like that to keep your cool but throughout the years you learn how to deal with it. The biggest thing you can do is keep your cool and make sure that you keep a clean head so nothing gets out of hand.”
Korzeniowski went in for the third and final goal for RCNJ in the 64th minute of the match with a breakaway from Jack Borden on the left wing and a cutback cross toward the penalty spot which Korzeniowski shot first time but hit into the back of substitute striker Luke Pompliano’s leg which Korzeniowski was able to put away on his second attempt.
With an impressive performance from Wnorowski preventing goals for 92 minutes, defender Alvin Halley scored Philadelphia Lone Star’s only goal of the match from a header that went right over Wnorowski’s fingertips in the final seconds. “They did very well. Teams are going to get more physical and you just have to keep your composure especially when you are in the lead,” assistant coach Peter-John Falloon said when asked about the energy in last night’s match.
The Real Central NJ Soccer men’s team will be playing at home against West Chester United on Saturday, June 11th at 7 pm. Saturday’s match will be held on RCNJ’s “Star Wars Night,” where Star Wars characters will be attending for fans to meet and children in costume will receive free admission, accompanied by a paying adult. Ten percent of all gameday ticket sales will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Mercer County. The RCNJ WPSL women’s team will be playing its home opener on Sunday, June 12th at 6 pm against PA Classics, after being on the road for the beginning of the season.