Fifteen minutes into his first start with the Brooklyn Knights, Craig Smart missed his defensive mark and allowed Scott Pagluca to head in Luke Vercollones corner kick at the far post to put the Cape Cod Crusaders ahead, 1-0.
Not exactly the first impression Smart was looking to make.
But the recent Columbia University grad made amends, scoring back-to-back goals 10 minutes apart late in the first half to lift the Knights to a 3-1 win Sunday at the Metropolitan Oval.
I felt responsible for the goal that came in the beginning because that was my man who scored, so I felt I needed to make it up to the team, Smart said. I got a lot of great balls in from Chris Wingert and the midfielders, so I had a lot of chances and I was just happy to put two away.
The win, the Knights fourth in a row, catapults Brooklyn ahead of Cape Cod into first place in the Premier Development Leagues Northeast Division and snaps the Crusaders 21-game unbeaten streak that dated back to last season when Cape Cod won the national championship.
Brooklyn (6-2-1), which is 5-0-1 at home, is now two points ahead of both Cape Cod and Vermont, two teams the Knights beat by two goals at the Metropolitan Oval.
Its always a good feeling; the kids deserve it because theyve been working hard, Knights coach Dan Fisher said of being in first place. But talk to me in August. Ill be happy or disappointed then. Right now its just a position.
Smart scored his first goal of the game in the 30th minute, when he ran onto Wingerts chip behind the defense and volleyed the ball over a charging Troy Perkins from 20 yards out to tie the game at 1.
Ten minutes later, defender Gary Sullivan flicked the ball to Smart, who broke in on a 2-on-1 with Andre Borges, who saw his consecutive goal-scoring streak snapped at five games.
Smart faked a pass to Borges, freezing the Cape Cod defender, and blasted the ball past Perkins inside the near post from 16 yards out to put the Knights in front, 2-1.
This is by far the best team weve played this year and I think theyll do well, said Cape Cod coach Methembe Ndlovu. There are always mistakes in games, but good teams take advantage of them, and we made two mistakes and they made us pay for them. I think its a testament to the quality they have.
Rinaldo Chambers put the game away for the Knights in the 64th minutes, two minutes after replacing Smart, when he slotted home Wingerts pass.
The Knights return to action Friday night when they face Jersey Shore Boca at Ocean County Community College and return home Sunday at 5 p.m. to face the Worcester Kings.
Brooklyn Knights 2, South Jersey Barons 0. Borges, a standout at Clemson, scored a pair of second-half goals in an impressive 2-0 win over South Jersey at the Met Oval June 11.
Wilmington Hammerheads 2, New York Freedoms 0. Graham Golding and Junior Zarate scored for Wilmington (6-6) Saturday night at Fordham University. After hosting the Westchester Flames in a game scheduled for Wednesday night, the Freedoms (4-5-2 Pro-Select League) face the Long Island Rough Riders Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Mitchel Athletic Complex.
New York Freedoms 0, New Jersey Stallions 0. Nate Tickner made four saves for the Freedoms in a scoreless draw with the Stallions June 11 at St. Johns University.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.
©2003 Community News Group
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