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Schmid’s score carries Knights over Falcons

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Inches from scoring the game-winning goal in double overtime, Brooklyn Knights forward Andre Schmid collapsed to the turf of the Metropolitan Oval in Maspeth Saturday night, shocked and frustrated that he just missed a great scoring chance.

But Schmid, a freshman at St. John’s, picked himself up off the turf and netted the golden goal two minutes later to lift the Knights to a 1-0 win over the Jersey Falcons, snapping a three-game losing streak.

“We definitely stayed composed and disciplined in the back, which I thought was the key in overtime,” said Fisher, who also is the head coach at Concordia College. “It let us create opportunities up front. Our work rate was tremendous tonight.”

Schmid may have been reacting to his brilliant scoring opportunity, which rolled wide of the far post from 22 yards out, but he may as well have summed up the first half of the season for the Knights of the Premier Development League in the United Soccer Leagues.

After advancing to the PDL Eastern Conference semifinals last year, the Knights lost five of its first seven games and saw its head coach, Joe Barone, resign after a 6-1 home embarrassment to the Vermont Voltage June 1.

Since then Fisher, who was an assistant coach with the Long Island Rough Riders, has taken the reigns and the Knights responded by playing more inspired soccer. In its debut June 8, Brooklyn worked hard but was on the losing side of a 1-0 result to first-place Vermont.

It appeared the Knights were again going to walk out of the Oval disappointed after another hard-working game Saturday, until Schmid struck five minutes into the second overtime period.

James Hunt, a second half substitute, made a run toward the left corner and crossed the ball toward the far post. The ball deflected off a Jersey defender and onto the foot of midfielder Angel Rodriguez.

The St. John’s sophomore had his shot from five yards out stopped by Jersey keeper Steve Welham, but Schmid pounced on the rebound and put it into the net for his team-leading third goal of the year.

“I hit it the same way,” Schmid said of the golden goal strike compared to the one that rolled just wide moments earlier. “It’s about time we got a win. Hopefully we’ll get some momentum going after this game and get our confidence up.”

Brooklyn (3-6 Northeast Division) outshot Jersey, 17-7 and outworked the Falcons (4-4 Northeast Division) but until Schmid’s goal, struggled to finish its ample scoring opportunities. The Knights played a man up for the final 30 minutes of the game after Falcons defender Krzysztof Halupka was sent off in the 75th minute after picking up his second yellow card of the game.

Whitestone natives Shaun Higgins and Alessandro Acquista, as well as Rinaldo Chambers and United States Under-20 national team forward Knox Cameron, had point-blank chances but the shots were either stopped by Welham (five saves) or skipped wide or over the net.

“Throughout the game and in overtime we showed our inexperience a bit as far as our composure around the goal,” Fisher said. “But when we needed one guy to step up, Andre did that in overtime.”

Another St. John’s product, Rich Bradley, led a Knights defense that has been shaky this year, letting up 19 goals in eight games. Along with Red Storm teammate Pat Lonergan, Bradley was strong in the air and was a calming influence for a back line that was missing Knights captain Tommy Hunt, who was serving a one-game suspension following a red card at Worcester on June 2.

Keeper Billy Gaudette from, you guessed it, St. John’s, made three saves to earn his second shutout of the year. Jersey’s best scoring chance came at the end of the first half when Chris Karcz, a freshman at Rutgers, found space at the top of the box, but his shot sailed wide of the near post.

The Knights, who lost at Jersey 2-1 in overtime May 15, will face the Falcons for a third time, and second time in four days, in a game scheduled for Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Giants Stadium in the first game of a doubleheader.

Famed Argentine club Boca Juniors takes on the New York/New Jersey MetroStars in the nightcap at 7:45 p.m. Following that game, Brooklyn plays at the Rhode Island Stingrays Sunday at 2 p.m.

New York Freedoms 5, Long Island Rough Riders 1. Former St. John’s standout Shalrie Joseph netted a hat trick, Paul Roderick had a goal and an assist and Nick Christopher added a goal as the first-place New York Freedoms defeated the rival Long Island Rough Riders in a D3-Pro League match at St. John’s University Saturday night.

“It was a huge result because it’s a local rivalry and it opens up a bit of a point gap between us and them,” said Freedoms head coach David Price, another former Red Storm player. “It makes us look a bit better in terms of getting a playoff spot and it dips their hopes a bit.”

The Freedoms (7-2, 32 pts. Atlantic Division) also won their U.S. Open Cup qualifier last Wednesday in dramatic fashion as Joseph netted the golden goal in the second overtime to lift New York to a 1-0 win over the Chicago Eagles of the U.S. Amateur Soccer Association at St. John’s University.

The Freedoms advance to the second round of the U.S. Open Cup, one of the oldest cup competitions in the world, for the second time in four years and will head to Milwaukee to face the A-League Rampage Wednesday. The winner will face the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer.

Next up for New York is a pair of road games this weekend. After playing at the Reading Rage Friday night, the Freedoms face the South Jersey Barons Saturday at 6 p.m.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

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