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Damore leads Cosmopolitan Rough Riders to win

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The phone call Steve Damore was looking forward to came Saturday night. On the other line was Dion Oppolzer, the head coach of the Cosmopolitan Rough Riders Under-17 boys’ soccer team, asking the Lindenhurst, L.I. native to start against the Westchester Flames.

Damore, a starter on the Cosmopolitan Rough Riders U-16 team, repaid Oppolzer’s confidence by making seven saves, including a pair of diving stops in the second half to help preserve the Cosmopolitan Rough Riders’ 1-0 win in a Super Y-League match Monday at Brennan Field in Middle Village.

“I was happy to come up and win,” Damore said. “I have a feeling he knows who to call now and I’ll be happy if he does.”

The move was a necessity for Oppolzer because his starting keeper, Marcelo Del Rio, strained ligaments in his thumb while warming up before the Cosmopolitan Rough Riders’ last game against the Flames, a 5-0 loss June 17, and his two backup keepers are on vacation.

“He’s a good goalie and he does some good things. We knew he was going to do a good job,” Oppolzer said. “He did a good job there. I’m really happy.”

After a fairly even half with few scoring chances, the Cosmopolitan Rough Riders (4-2 Metro Division) scored the game’s lone goal late in the first half.

Aviation star Ronnie Bouemboue slid the ball into the box where Bryan Copius ran onto it, took two touches and beat Westchester keeper Joe Cullaro with a low shot from 12 yards out in the 43rd minute.

“I made a run diagonal to the 18-(yard box) and he saw me and put it in the air,” said Copius, a standout at Seaford High School. “I got it and put it in.”

The game opened up in the second half, which seemed to benefit the Cosmopolitan Rough Riders. In the 74th minute Antonio DaSilva had an open shot but it went wide of the low post.

Two minutes later Patrick Cucci had a pair of chances in front of the goal, but his point blank shot was tipped over the end line for a corner kick. He headed the ensuing corner off the crossbar.

“(Westchester) had to open up more. They were trying to tie the game up so that’s why we had more space to attack,” Oppolzer said. “That’s when Ronnie really gets into his game. ... When he has space facing goal he just makes things happen.”

Meanwhile Damore was sharp on the other side of the field. He dived to his left to stop a low, hard shot by Daichi Komatsu in the 65th minute. In the 80th minute Damore again dived to his left and got a hand on Michael Mingione’s low free kick from 20 yards out that split the Cosmopolitan Rough Riders’ wall.

“For some reason (the wall) opened up and all of a sudden the ball comes through,” Damore said. “I just got there and tapped it away. I just got a hand on it.”

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

Posted 7:07 pm, October 10, 2011
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