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Lefferts leads Knights to 2-1 win over Blackwatch

The speedy midfielder has embraced his role of super-sub for the Brooklyn Knights. With the soccer club stuck in a five-team race for a pair of playoff spots and after a sub par first half, Lefferts came up huge off...

By Dylan Butler

Chris Lefferts has found his niche.

The speedy midfielder has embraced his role of super-sub for the Brooklyn Knights. With the soccer club stuck in a five-team race for a pair of playoff spots and after a sub par first half, Lefferts came up huge off the bench Sunday, scoring the game’s first goal in a 2-1 win over the Albany Blackwatch Highlanders at the Metropolitan Oval.

“Usually when I come off the bench I want to get everyone back involved in the game because sometimes everyone’s tired from halftime,” Lefferts said. “I just want to go in and make a difference.”

He did just that, as his first goal of the year couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for the Knights, undefeated in 10 straight games.

Lefferts, who entered the game in the 39th minute, replacing Alessandro Acquista on the left side, was freed four minutes into the second half from a cheeky chip by Craig Smart, who received the ball from newcomer Tim Roty.

Lefferts ran past his defender and into the box, slotting the ball past Albany keeper Matt Sullivan from 12 yards out to give Brooklyn (10-2-2) a 1-0 lead after a less-than-stellar first half that saw the Knights hit the woodwork four times.

“It worked out really well; I happened to get behind the defender and ended up getting the ball,” Lefferts said. “Everything fell into place and I just got a shot off.”

Lefferts, a former standout at Hofstra who will play at the University of Kentucky in the fall, helped the Knights take over sole possession of second place in the Premier Development League’s Northeast Division, one point behind idle Vermont, which played two more games than the Knights.

Cape Cod, South Jersey and Rhode Island are also in contention for the division’s two playoff spots.

“He broke them down pretty well, he went at defenders and he did a good job again. I know what Chris brings to the table; he can be a starter on a lot of teams and he can be a starter on this team,” said Brooklyn Knights head coach Dan Fisher. “Sometimes coaching decisions can be the toughest thing in the world when you have 21 good players. It’s not easy to keep everybody happy.”

But Lefferts’ strike wouldn’t be enough as Albany (5-9-1) leveled the score at 1 in the 66th minute when Nick Southworth headed in Greg Chevalier’s knuckling corner kick at the far post.

After helping set up Lefferts’ goal, Smart scored the game-winner three minutes later as he took Andre Borges’ pass that split the Albany defense and tapped the ball past Sullivan and inside the near post from 10 yards out for his seventh goal of the year.

Goalkeeper Billy Gaudette made sure the lead held up, making a season-high nine saves, including a reactionary stab on Southworth’s low drive through traffic from the top of the 18-yard box midway through a scoreless first half.

Next up for the Knights is a huge midweek clash with the New York Freedoms, a former PDL rival, at St. John’s University in a game scheduled for Wednesday night.

“It’s going to mean something, which is good,” Fisher said. “I have a lot of respect for that organization, and their coach David Price, he’s built a good thing in a short period of time over there. We just hope we can go in there and come out with a good result on the road.”

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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