The Kingston Tigers rolled into Academy Field on Wednesday night undefeated.
They left with their first loss of the season.
Justin Saravia scored the game’s only goal in the first half, and the Newburgh Free Academy boys’ soccer team held on for a 1-0 victory in the Goldbacks’ Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association Division I opener on Wednesday night.
“We’re coming along,” Newburgh coach Matt Iorlano said. “We took advantage of the one opportunity that we put in. We had a couple of other chances that were close. We battled. We kept our heads. We didn’t fold under the pressure.”
Saravia nearly put the Goldbacks on the board in the game’s 11th minute when he put a header into the net but was whistled offsides.
However, he recovered 10 minutes later with the help of teammate Henry Moran, who brought the ball down the field through traffic. He turned left toward the goal, dribbling the ball along the end line without going out of bounds, sent a crossing pattern just outside the 6-yard box.
That’s where Saravia was waiting for him to push deliver the game’s only goal in the 19th minute.
“(Moran) battled all the way there, and he was finally able to get off of it and he found Justin sitting in the pocket,” Iorlano said. “That worked out well.”
It also was a banner day for sophomore goalkeeper Isaac Ortega, who scored his second straight shutout. He also shut out the Beacon Bulldogs on September 6, but Iorlano said Wednesday night was his best game of the season.
Ortega was tested early in the second half when Kingston’s Ayden Campbell delivered a header toward the goal that Ortega knocked away. He also made a key save on a shot by Kingston’s Andrew Foster with less than three minutes to go.
His biggest save may have come with about 18.5 seconds left when he knocked away a direct kick.
“The keeper is maturing,” Iorlano said. “Every game he gets a little bit better. It’s what we expected, and he had a couple of early season booboos there, but he’s maturing, and that makes a big difference.”
The Tigers got the better of the Goldbacks at the start of each half, and it took about 10 minutes in each half for the Goldbacks to assume control. Once they did, they found ways to limit the Tigers’ chances.
“Both halves were very similar,” Iorlano said. “The first eight to ten minutes they were all over us. Then we kind of regrouped and got the ball on the ground and started playing to one another’s feet. It makes a little bit of a difference.”
The Goldbacks had a week off since their last game, their win over Beacon, and will have about another week before they take the field again. They were scheduled to continue their OCIAA Division I schedule on Tuesday against the Pine Bush Bushmen.
“If we learn to get the ball down and start moving the ball and playing to each other’s feet, we’re going to be a tough team to beat, but that’s coming along,” Iorlano said. “We lost another starter this week. And we’re down to 20 guys and we’re hoping to recover from that.”