(Central Jersey) - The Real Central NJ Soccer (RCNJ) USL League Two men’s team endured an unfortunate 0-1 loss against West Chester United at home on Saturday, June 11th. This was RCNJ’s second single-goal loss this season against last year’s Eastern Conference finalist West Chester SC.
RCNJ hosted its first “Star Wars night” where fans enjoyed a touch of the “force” while watching both teams fight hard for the win. Ten percent of last night’s game day ticket sales will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Mercer County, an organization whose purpose is to provide the youth of Mercer County with recreational and enrichment activities. Also in attendance were members of Lawrence Hamnett's, who supported RCNJ and the evening as ball retrievers.
West Chester displayed a lot of quick communication and footwork early into the first period which presented a threat to RCNJ’s back line. Goalkeeper Jake Langley played the entirety of the match, a second chance to confront West Chester after conceding three goals in their last matchup. With constant pressure on RCNJ’s backline, Langley’s skills were frequently put to the test.
West Chester’s unexpected starter Jacob Gosselin took a fall in the 25th minute and was helped off the field to seek medical attention, leaving West Chester United a man down for approximately five minutes of the first half. Substitute Seidu Shamsudeen came in and scored the match's only goal in the 35th minute between a swarm of players in the penalty area. His shot took a deflection skipping over goalkeeper Langley’s hand during an attempted diving save.
RCNJ’s “Player of the Match,” defender Gavin Wigg, performed with consistent interference, preventing West Chester from setting up intricate plays or shots on goal for the duration of the match. The first period ended with the visitors up by a goal. “I thought we played well in the first half, with just one bad mistake. [Coach Woods] tried to get our heads up and get us back into the game at halftime,” Wigg said.
The second period presented a lot of back and forth between the teams, however, every time Real Central NJ advanced the ball to West Chester’s territory, there was a player to intercept and clear it back to the other side of the field. RCNJ’s offensive line refused to give up and pushed its efforts to try and get on the scoreboard before the end of the match.
Attacker Justin Brunow took a free-kick towards the goal in the 67th minute where Luke Pompliano leaped and put his header just wide. In the 79th minute, RCNJ tried for a goal again with a free-kick from Justin Scharf sending the ball into the goal box which looked promising but was no match for West Chester United’s towering goalkeeper Kent Dickey who managed to catch each attempted cross throughout the match. After a lot of back and forth from both teams, the score remained 1-0 in the 93rd minute with no change in the scoreboard for RCNJ.
Head coach Brian Woods commented on the team’s performance saying, “these kinds of things happen in the sport. We had some opportunities we probably should’ve finished, but you have to have a short memory here and just get ready for our next match on Wednesday. We’re not going to dwell on this. It happens.”
The Real Central NJ Soccer men’s team will return home on Friday, June 17th at 7 pm in its third and final face-off against Philadelphia Lone Star of the 2022 season after playing on the road against Lehigh Valley United. The RCNJ WPSL women’s team will be playing its home opener on Sunday, June 12th against PA Classics.