Lions avenge loss to Lawmen
Two days after suffering a crushing 2-1 road loss to cross-town rival Jonathan Law, the Foran High boys soccer team went back to work on Monday afternoon in preparation for a quick, turnaround game at the Vito DeVito Sports Complex with the Lawmen.
“I couldn’t stop thinking about the amount of possession time that we had against them,” Lions’ coach Rick DiStefano said of the earlier meeting. “When you possess, you have to do it with a purpose. And, that purpose is to score.”
After schooling his players on quick passes and shots, Foran went out Tuesday night and played a textbook-style contest against the Lawmen.
The Lions won in a totally dominating 4-0 fashion, getting a high school-career first three goals from senior midfielder Nick LaPenna, and an opening score from freshmen Cedrick Lingane at 22:39.
Foran improved to 2-8-2. Law is 2-11.
Rodrigo Sapriza fed Langine a perfectly-placed ball through the middle, and the speedy Langine outraced a Law defender and beat goalkeeper Jack Campbell from close range.
“This was the best football I’ve seen from a Foran team, probably since I’ve been here,” said DiStefano, now in his fifth season. “This was the total package. We possessed, moved the ball up-field and opened it up.
“We went into that Monday afternoon practice and worked on winning the ball, taking no more than four passes before we took a shot.”
All three of LaPenna’s goals came in the second half, as Foran was only able to take a 1-0 lead despite outshooting the Lawmen, 11-2.
Campbell, who was outstanding in the first meeting, especially in the closing minutes, made six saves in the opening 40 minutes here.
But Foran, with junior Julian Yuliawan’s relentless pursuit and ball-control, broke it open in the second half,
He fed LaPenna, who scored at 37:18 for a 2-0 lead, then his corner kick from the left-side end line was low and direct and headed in by LaPenna at 29:34.
LaPenna finished off his night with 1:18 remaining when he took a pass from Sapriza and touched it in from in close.
“It was nice to score three goals,” LaPenna said. “But it was how we got here. Without those passes from my teammates, I wouldn’t have had the time to score those goals. Julian terrorized them all game long.”
Sapriza wasn’t surprised by the win, but he was pleased.
“This is huge for us,” he said. “Nothing can feel better than this. We went into our practice on Monday and the coach worked us hard. We knew we needed to win. We had to win one back.”
The loss for Law came after a stretch, where the Lawmen had won two out of three contests.
“I think we might’ve stirred up a hornet’s nest on Saturday,” said Law coach Donato Piselli. “I don’t think they were expecting us to do what we did.
“It’s hard for us once we go down one. In those games that we won, we scored first. Once we get behind, we have to press. We had to change our shape and once we went down two where we made a defensive mistake, it really didn’t matter whether they scored three or four goals.”
Campbell finished with 12 saves, as Foran outshot Law, 21-7. Foran’s keeper, Adnan Redzepagic stopped five shots.
Foran anchored its defense with Paul Mirmina, Justin Kassouf and Adrian Burton, and used Yuliawan, LaPenna and Sapriza in the middle with Alex Eager and Lingane up top.
Law forwards Ryan Dennis and Terrence Lewis had chances in the second half.
Piselli played Herbie Pritchard, Andres Navarro and Sam DaSilva in the middle, and had Craig Calderone, Bryan Creevy and Anthony Longobardi as his deep backs.
DiStefano is thankful for the chance to salvage the team’s season and perhaps make the state tournament.
“We dug ourselves into a hole, but we have a chance to get out,” he said. “It’s in our hands and that’s the way I like it.”