Amsterdam’s Jeremy Rosado (5) and Scotia-Glenville’s Nick Nielsen get tangled up going for a loose ball during Monday’s game at Lynch Literacy Academy. (Adam Shinder/Recorder staff)
By ADAM SHINDER
The result was a hard-luck loss, but it couldn’t spoil Amsterdam High School boys soccer coach Chris Modelowski’s mood as he finished talking to his team following Monday’s match against Scotia-Glenville at Lynch Literacy Academy.
The Rams lost, 1-0, but for a coach seeking to build up the Amsterdam program from an extended period of struggles, the performance was as good as Modelowski has seen his team put in against a quality opponent since taking over the head coaching position in 2015.
“I just wanted a good result that we could build on,” a grinning Modelowski said. “A lot of the times, we face these higher-tier teams and we just kind of bunker in and give up 30 shots. I thought the game was much more even today. We had a ton of chances, and we have a lot to build on.”
Jared O’Connor’s low rocket of a goal with 23:38 to play in regulation proved to be decisive for Scotia-Glenville (5-1, 4-0 Foothills Council), but Amsterdam (0-5, 0-5), which had been outscored 30-1 in six previous meetings with the Tartans since the Rams joined the Foothills Council in 2014, rarely looked overwhelmed in the face of a more established opponent.
The Tartans controlled possession for much of the game, but Amsterdam’s central corps of defender Ruben Dimas and midfielders Antonio Reyes and Yony Batres plugged up the middle of the field and won the contested balls Modelowski has spent all season hoping his team would start to control.
“I’ve been working so hard for the past week on the center backs and the center mids winning the first ball,” Modelowski said. “A couple guys, like ‘Rico’ Reyes, Ruben and Yony, they were winning that first ball.”
Amsterdam had several promising counterattacks in the first half through the forward duo of Ever Arevalo and Kevin Vargas, including a shot from close range by Arevalo in the opening 10 minutes that went right into the midsection of Tartans goalkeeper Ed Rosenberg.
Scotia-Glenville’s defense, led by deep-lying sweeper Chris Aldi, central defender Kyle Steele and imposing outside back Dominic Jack, mostly kept Amsterdam in check — though the Rams did have a few promising shots that fizzed just a bit too high over the crossbar.
Scotia-Glenville nearly took the lead seven minutes into the second half when Nathan Cieszynski latched onto a long through ball from Matt Williams and found himself 1-on-1 with Amsterdam goalkeeper Matt Crounse, but Cieszynski’s shot went off the outside of the net.
Ten minutes later, however, the Tartans finally got the breakthrough. A long free kick from Jack bounced around at the edge of the box before finally falling to O’Connor, who stepped into his shot and unleashed a laser into the bottom left corner.
“Jared’s a sophomore, he’s a very skilled player,” Tartans coach Chris Bailey said. “We put him in a couple of different positions, and wherever we put him, he’s successful.”
The Rams had let up some soft goals that disappointed Modelowski earlier in the season. This wasn’t one of them.
“If we’re gonna give up a goal, we’re gonna make them work for the goal,” he said. “We may not be the most technical team, but today we put in the effort, the energy and the heart, and when you do that it doesn’t matter how good you are. That’s something we can build on.”
The Tartans held on down the stretch despite a couple of injuries. Chris Aldi came off briefly favoring his right leg before returning, and forward Julian Aldi exited for good with 20 minutes to play when he came up with his head bleeding heavily following a nasty collision with Williams when the two teammates both went up for a header.
It wasn’t pretty, but Bailey was pleased with how his team survived the game — especially on an unfamiliar turf surface.
“This field has a true bounce to it. It’s like a ping-pong ball, and our guys aren’t accustomed to playing on it,” Bailey said. “I give my respects to Amsterdam, they played a hard game. They played a controlled-tempo, middle-of-the-field type of game.”
For Amsterdam, there was plenty of progress for the team to build on heading into Friday’s road game against Hudson Falls.
“I think these guys are finally starting to realize what it takes to win a game,” Modelowski said. “There’s a lot to be happy about.”